Day Ten of the Thomas Chantry Trial

By | August 12, 2018

“Ms. Eazer this witness is not going to go out of his way to be helpful to you.”
-Judge Astrowsky

With that, I begin my coverage of day ten of the Chantry trial.

Pastor Don Lindblad was on the Witness Stand and the State’s Prosecuting Attorney, Susan Eazer resumed her cross-examination of him. What follows are what I consider to be some of the highlights of the session.

Tom Chantry is the person who asked Pastor Lindblad to be his advocate for the ARBCA investigation in December 2000.

Pastor Lindblad remembers Walt Chantry writing a very angry letter to the Miller Valley Baptist Church Elders and that Walt Chantry also expressed some very angry thoughts to the ARBCA three-man investigative panel. (In a discussion concerning allowable evidence, specifically evidence from the “sealed report,” Ms. Eazer stated at the end of the day when the jurors were out of the courtroom that she believes the “sealed report” from the ARBCA investigation in 2000 was sealed and given to only a select few individuals because Walt Chantry “screamed loud enough.”)

When Tom Chantry left Prescott he moved to University Place, WA, a suburb south of Tacoma. He attended Providence Reformed Baptist Church, an ARBCA church pastored by Tom Lyon. Pastor Lindblad testified that Chantry lived in University Place for approximately 18 months. After the first year, he occasionally preached at Lyon’s church.

I find this interesting because Susan Eazer said in the above-referenced discussion that the “sealed report” stated, “He (Thomas Chantry) was disqualified from ministry.” Very few people saw this sealed report, but two people who did see it were Bob Selph and Tom Lyon!

Tom Lyon is apparently a close friend of Tom Chantry. He officiated at Chantry’s wedding and preached at the ordination service of Chantry. Apparently, Pastor Lyon never read the sealed report, or if he did he figured he knew better than the three-man ARBCA investigative panel. That report also described some of the horrible things Chantry did to the children in his care. Defense Attorney John Sears said, “Bob Selph took the sealed report when he left ARBCA because it was too inflammatory for ARBCA staff to see.” Yet Pastor Don Lindblad testified that Tom Chantry preached at Tom Lyon’s church!  What say you, Tom Lyon?


Ms. Eazer then turned her attention to an interview she had with Don Lindblad in March 2018.  Eazer brought out a piece of evidence, #76. This evidence was the transcript of the interview.  On page 72, line 21 of the document Lindblad indicated that Chantry would never discipline any children other than his own and would never be alone with children.

Eazer stated that Chantry taught at a Christian school from 2002-2006. (5th and 6th grade.) She asked Lindblad if there was any reason to believe Chantry was supervised in that school? Eazer had to press Lindblad before he would admit that Chantry was likely not supervised.

Lindblad admitted he was one of the strong supporters for allowing Chantry’s church (Christ Reformed Baptist Church located in Hales Corners, WI) membership in ARBCA. Lindblad wrote an email to Steve Marquedant, chairman of the membership committee, strongly advocating for Chantry’s church to be accepted. Lindblad followed this up with another email urging Chantry’s application to be accepted.

 Any church applying for membership in the ARBCA had to have a member church sponsor them. Chantry’s sponsor was Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Rockford, IL. The senior pastor at Grace Reformed Baptist Church is Dale Smith. Assistant pastor is Al Huber. Huber is the father-in-law of Thomas Chantry. Both men have been in attendance at the trial. Friday morning Dale Smith sent the following message to members of Grace Reformed Baptist Church:

You know what causes me angst? That these two pastors could sit through this trial, hear the multiple stories of victims including bare-bottomed beatings, Chantry rubbing their butts and even fondling a victims genitalia on numerous occasions and still defend the man!

Back to the trial. Ms. Eazer asked Don Lindblad if there was a clamor among churches about the ARBCA cover-up. Lindblad responded, “Yes.”

She then asked Lindblad about the occasion he went to Christ Reformed Baptist Church to address their concerns. Ms. Eazer said they (members of CRBC) had never been told prior to Tom’s arrest about the accusations and the ARBCA investigation in the year 2000. Lindblad responded, “Correct.”

Ms. Eazer then said, “You were selective in what you talked about from the 2000 report, you didn’t tell them everything.” Lindblad responded, “That is correct.”

Ms. Eazer asked Lindblad about his statement that he “was going to separate fact from fiction.” She said, “You were telling them your interpretation.” Lindblad said, “Yes.”

Ms. Eazer asked Lindblad why he didn’t share the document with church members. Lindblad responded, “I was told not to distribute the document.”

Below is a comment I received from a CRBC member regarding the occasion of Don Lindblad coming to their church:


Ms. Eazer then asked if talk about the ARBCA cover-up has caused some churches to leave ARBCA. Lindblad responded, “Yes.”

Lindblad said Tom Lyon’s church received the confidential or “sealed report” from the ARBCA 2000 investigation.

Lindblad then corrected his statement from the previous day by stating, “My position and ARBCA’s position is a person is innocent until proven guilty.”

To which I would say a person is presumed innocent, that presumption is as it relates to criminal charges brought by the State. Some in ARBCA have seen the sealed report, I imagine many other have heard what it contains.  As I wrote above, that sealed report stated that Tom Chantry was disqualified from ministry! The report also described the physical assaults Tom Chantry carried out on children, said another victim had been identified and stated “There were many other issues that surfaced in our interviews with members of the congregation which the informal council was unable to explore…These issues included strong evidence of some authoritarianism and angry humiliation by (Defendant) of some members of his flock while serving as the Pastor of MVBC…(t)he Elders who assume oversight of (Defendant) should consider the possibility that on some level he punished children for his own pleasure.”

Yet armed with this information the ARBCA official line is “a person is innocent until proven guilty.” They continue to “stand by their man.” For supposedly being men of the Book they seem to be totally ignorant of the application of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. They have evidenced a distressing lack of discernment and in my opinion, should also be disqualified from ministry.

In the Redirect by John Sears, it was made clear that ARBCA officials knew in the Fall of 2015 that charges were going to be brought against Tom Chantry. Don Lindblad said he found this out in a phone call from the Administrative Chairman Douglas VanderMeulen.  (I believe MVBC pastor Chris Marley testified that he was being given updates on the status of the case from the Prescott Police Department and he had called VanderMeulen.)

Lindblad further testified that he was asked by the Senior Elder (Bill Halliburton) at Christ Reformed Baptist Church to come to their congregational meeting and discuss the Tom Chantry situation. He had the sealed report from the ARBCA 2000 investigation but he tried to stay away from divulging the documents but said he did talk about them. This would seem to contradict a statement he made shortly after that where he said the “AC put a muzzle on all of us.”

Tom Chantry takes the Witness Stand

At approximately 10:40 A.M.  Thomas Chantry raised his right hand and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help him, God. Less than a minute later the “man of God,” in my opinion, broke his oath 5 times. After having Chantry introduce himself to the jury, John Sears said “let’s cut right to the chase” and asked the following questions:

Sears – Did you ever molest [Victim 1]?

Chantry – No I did not.

Sears – Did you ever molest [Victim 2]?

Chantry – No I did not.

Sears – Did you ever assault [Victim 3]?

Chantry – No I did not.

Sears – Did you ever assault [Victim 4]?

Chantry – No I did not.

Sears – Did you ever assault [Victim 5]?

Chantry – No I did not.

John Sears then led Chantry through a painfully slow, well-rehearsed rendition of their version of the facts that lasted the remainder of the day. (They will continue when court reconvenes on Tuesday.)

My guess is that Chantry likely attended a witness class such as this one.   His coach had the unenviable task of transforming Chantry from what most report as a dour personality into a perky, positive, believable family man. In my opinion, Chantry flopped. Try to imagine a 48-year-old Eddie Haskell from the “Leave it to Beaver” television show and you will have a good idea of how Chantry came across. For example, when Sears asked Chantry if he ever spanked a child bare-bottomed Chantry would use a very dramatic voice and say something like, “No, of course not, I would never do something like that.”

Chantry’s most outrageous acting came when Sears asked him if he would ever tell a child that God would be mad at the child if he ever mentioned being spanked to anyone. Chantry had a dramatic pause and acted like he was a little choked up and then said that was perhaps the false allegation that hurt him the most. He would never tell a child something like that about the God he loved and served.

And so it continued as Chantry denied everything every witness for the prosecution had said.

I wasn’t buying any of it. Admittedly I am biased against Chantry, and I also admit I am no expert in reading body language, but after a while, I quit taking notes and started observing the jurors. From what  I could see it seemed obvious that several jurors also weren’t buying what Chantry was selling.

Chantry, in describing how hard it was for him to gain acceptance at MVBC said some people missed the previous pastor, Bob Selph, so badly that when he would start to preach some people would start crying. (That may be the only thing I heard from Chantry that I believe.)

Chantry also said that some people disliked him so much that when he approached them to talk with them, they would just turn their back to him and walk away. (This is another story which completely contradicts what every witness from MVBC said.  They said everyone went out of their way to make Chantry feel welcome. Chantry did say that many families invited him for dinner, so I guess he said two things that I believe.)

I don’t remember the question Sears asked Chantry, but Chantry prefaced his answer with, “To be perfectly honest…” I thought why start now!

Another ironic statement by Chantry was “I cannot in any honesty apologize for something I did not do.” I thought honesty has never gotten in your way for anything else, now you suddenly have a conscience?

We will be back at it on Tuesday morning. Hopefully, the case will get to the jury sometime Wednesday.



116 thoughts on “Day Ten of the Thomas Chantry Trial

  1. Van Helsing

    So? All this tells me is that Tom Lyons (in conjunction with ARBCA) wants to create a separate class of elite “intelligentsia” type pastors within the organization because, as James Renihan personally told me, that they (the Reformed Baptist leadership) wishes to become more legitimate like the Presbyterians and to be taken more seriously within religious circles. Somehow these guys seem to be suffering low self-esteem because the Presbyterians are beating them to the punch – at least in Renihan’s opinion. After thinking about what Renihan said, I concluded that shouldn’t ARBCA just be concerned that their ministers are trained to speak well and faithfully preach the Gospel every Sunday? Do ARBCA pastors need to be published authors or theologians with a Doctor of Theology (ThD) after their names? Hmmmm, puffed up by intellectual pride? Anyone? Could malignant pride really be behind the fall of ARBCA? It seems to be behind the fall of Tom Chantry if I am not mistaken.

    1. CJ

      “So? All this tells me is that Tom Lyons (in conjunction with ARBCA) wants to create a separate class of elite “intelligentsia” type pastors within the organization because, as James Renihan personally told me, that they (the Reformed Baptist leadership) wishes to become more legitimate like the Presbyterians and to be taken more seriously within religious circles.”

      You can’t be more legitimate as a pastor if you’re a faithful shepherd, tending the flock wherever the Lord sees fit to put you. As Paul Gordon rightly noted in another post, they’re not “content with laboring in obscurity” (paraphrased).

      It’s pride AND idolatry. Both are infectious in a mutual admiration society. And way bigger than a theological hermit.

      It’s a sinful mixture of pseudo-alpha men with the head knowledge to rattle sabres…too busy “contending” and looking down their noses toward everyone who gets “it” wrong.

      In the meantime, souls wither.


      I’ll write that position paper;
      I’ll tell you ALL about the mysteries you couldn’t hope to understand;
      I’ll speak at your conference;
      Check out my blog and watch me lay waste to error;
      Have you seen my book?

      Thank God none in His hands can ever be lost. An account will be given.

  2. Surreal

    Why does that make it irrelevant Jael? To me that makes it completely relevant as it shows the mindsight of these preachers towards their occupation. It shows that they have an unbiblical view when it comes to the office of pastor. They have made the mistake, or Lyons has at least, that the pastor is ONLY to study and preach and that’s simply not true. Especially in a church situation that only has 1-2 elders, the pastor MUST be involved in other things. To literally tell the congregation to leave the pastor alone and then say “if you don’t leave him alone you are keeping from his job” is just preposterous. Its completely relevant. we are not only crying against the sins of Tom Chantry here in this particular situation but we are seeing a great many sins in others as well that need to come to light. Not sure I would call this a “sin” per se but its definitely an error in their teaching and one with potentially dangerous outcomes.

  3. Van Helsing

    Another good analogy is some man wanting to be ordained but then asking ARBCA if he had to own or use a Bible. You are most correct – SURREAL!

    1. Paul Gordon

      Jael, I don’t really see your point. My contention is that preaching and studying to preach is not the sole duty of the Pastoral office. Tom Lyon is wrong and this distortion that places public performance above the pastoral work of loving prayerful service to a people in example as well as instruction tends to give legitimacy to men whose character disqualifies them from pastoral office.

  4. Van Helsing

    Hi Joy,
    Your premise became clear in reading Chantry’s and Dykstra’s book: “Holding Communion Together.” It was implied that aspects of “authorianism” were going on at Al Martin’s church in New Jersey but Al Martin was never connected to any of it – or mentioned in connection with it but everyone kind of knew who they were talking about. Wow, how things have a way of turning around but the Lord’s hand is behind all of this since He is sovereign and in control despite the mayhem now ensuing within ARBCA at this time.

    1. "Joy"

      Van Helsing,

      Yes, I’ve read the book. No organization can keep us us safe. We need to be alert and to take heed lest we fall. If we see something, we need to speak up.

  5. Marsh

    “Its all bad and unjustifiable behavior but it is only abuse when you choose to take it.“

    I have to disagree with this statement. This is victim shaming. There is mind control going on in a lot of these churches and the victims don’t always recognize what is being done to them. For example, 900 followers of Jim Jones chose to take his abuse. Since they choose to accept it, then it wasn’t abuse? If I have somehow misunderstood your point then please explain.

    1. JLC

      Another good point. I personally see where everyone is coming from regarding this subject. Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

    2. Paul Gordon

      At Jonestown the people could not walk away. They were made promises of a garden paradise and had no idea they were being brought into a death trap. That is by definition abuse. The people who sought to flee were gunned down and many forced to drink the poison. Nothing like this happens in ARBCA churches. People are free to leave and free to stay. You don’t like lies and pastoral misconduct you do not have to stand for it. Not sure why that is victim shaming. I understand totally why people stay in such situations and the regret they feel later on when they wonder why in the world they put up with it for so long.

      But none of this is the same as children in the control of adults in authority beaten with boat oars and sexually exploited. Staying in a church in which you are free to leave is not the same as a women in economic dependence upon a man being beaten and believing she has no good alternative.

      Since these situations are so drastically different I would suggest a different set of terms to describe them. Abuse takes place when you do not have alternatives. When you are a child or a dependent. It may be intimidation or fear of social ostracism or a great many other things but not abuse when you are free to walk away from the abuser.

      1. JLC

        Thanks, I made a slight edit. You wrote “repentance” when I think you meant “dependence.” Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

  6. Surreal

    In the clip he used a preposterous example of helping someone move and conveniently left out ALL of the other things that any self-respecting leader in a church would gladly attend to. Sadly I feel this may be the actual thought process of some of these leaders. They feel as if they are to remain in academia, constantly studying and learning when in reality a shepherd would do so much more. Didn’t Jesus tend to the physical and spiritual needs of His followers? Did he only teach and tell them not to bother him with other such things? Ridiculous…

    1. Ciaran

      It makes one wander if the fellas at IRBS are being taught the same thing.

      Anyone hear ever attend IRBS or know someone who did/does?

  7. "Joy"

    Which of the following is abuse?

    The pastor/elder/deacon
    1) makes a home visit and looks in your refrigerator to see what you eat.
    2) tells you can’t marry someone – with no scriptural reasons.
    3) commands you to drop everything and attend to someone else’s need.
    4) tells you not to ask about a person’s past when they are being brought into membership.
    5) suggests adding non-attending persons to the membership to meet some membership requirement elsewhere.
    6) repeats the concern you spoke about with him in private, with scorn (no names), from the pulpit.
    7) does not follow the church constitution.
    8) changes the church constitution without input and voting from the membership.
    9) conducts membership meetings with no discussion. Yes votes, expected. Any dissension frowned upon, or not allowed.
    10) chooses other elders and deacons, with no input invited from the entire congregation. When the name is presented to the congregation – it’s basically a “done deal”.
    11) creates an environment where you are afraid to leave, unless you are moving away, as you see others who have left for other local churches despised.
    12) creates an environment where you are afraid to express any disagreement with how things are run, or with what is said from the pulpit

    1. Paul Gordon

      Its all bad and unjustifiable behavior but it is only abuse when you choose to take it. If you are not being restrained from leaving (which you should most certainly do) than you are choosing that kind of reprehensible leadership and enabling it to continue.

      1. "Joy"

        My understanding is: one of the reasons ARBCA was formed, was to deal with what they deemed abuse of authority. But we were in an ARBCA church which practiced items in the list #4-12. The officers of the church apparently don’t see it as abuse of authority. I pray they will and will repent openly – before it’s too late. I pray the Lord will rescue those caught in the abuse.

        1. Ciaran

          Joy, I heard the same thing growing up, but I noticed over the year the extremely sad truth that hurt begets hurt. If there’s anything that could keep me up at night its that I’ll end up being no different than those who abused me.

          1. JLC

            I agree. It’s easy to fear becoming what we have beheld.

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      2. Ole Ganny

        Paul, I am one of those that remained. I was not ‘restrained’ physically but yes, I was ‘restrained’. I would actually encourage people who visited not to join. This happened quite a few times. But almost every time they joined anyway. One of those men later became an ARBCA ‘pastor’. I’ve wandered if he remembered what I said to him before he joined. I spent many years not wanting to be there. But…. I remained because my husband was a deacon and our 3 kids had friends there. I wanted to leave many years before my husband was ready to leave. So please do not be hard on those who stayed and who are still there. The spiritual abuse and lies told about us was horrible. Our marriage suffered and our kids suffered. They are grown now and they are in the process of dealing with what being raised in this type of church has done to each of them. And our marriage continues to get better (37 years strong) . I think my husband lives with guilt keeping us there. He now knows if I’m ready to leave our church, I’m leaving whether he’s ready or not! 😁 This has been so very hard and we’ve been gone over 5 years. I am weeping yet again.

        1. Paul Gordon

          I am so sorry for all the pain that you have experienced and I am glad your family is still intact and free from that dreadful situation. I know in time you and your husband will recover from these horrible memories and regrets that are so real to you now.

          I am sorry to have appeared to be hard upon those who stay in such situations. It surely is not any part of my intention. My purpose was simply to make a distinction between the kind of abuse those children in Chantry’s care experienced and fears that keep people in authoritarian churches. I sympathize with those like you who unwillingly stay to please a spouse or because of fear of criticism or social ostracism. To me overcoming such fears is a very different matter to rescuing those who simply cannot under any circumstances resist their abusers.

          1. Ole Ganny

            Thank you Paul. I am almost 65 and all I want is to love and serve Jesus! This blog has, in a sense, ‘set me free’. I have never done this before! I now anxiously await to see how today went. I continue to pray theses victims get justice. Anyway, thank you Paul for your words!

          2. JLC

            This is a difficult topic, yet I also think that people are free to leave ARBCA churches without fear of being physically harmed.

            I’m told that some ARBCA church members will not read anything on this blog, because their pastors are claiming that Todd just hates ARBCA or doesn’t believe in spanking.

            These folks are choosing to worship pastors not God, in my view. I don’t think that they are victims of anything but their own bad judgment.

            They certainly don’t belong in the same category as abused children, in my opinion.

            Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          3. "Joy"


            I should have asked “Which are examples of improper use of authority ,” or something similar. I stand corrected. I was not at all trying to compare this to the beating or molesting of children.

            However, there are reports of improper use of authority going on in some ARBCA churches. And this has been discussed in this blog.

            Having been a spouse, who remained in an an ARBCA church to please my spouse – I’ll say the pain I endured was something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. You are surrounded by people supposedly happy, told this is the best church, and asked “what’s wrong with you?” You begin to question you’re own sanity – who are you to disagree with “everyone else”. And you’re made afraid to talk to anyone outside the church, lest you be sinning by bringing any disrespect on the church/pastor. Or inside the church, because you will be despised.

  8. JLC

    Hi Everyone:

    Just a friendly announcement from your primary moderator. Most of the comments have been excellent so far. However, I am noticing a tendency from some individuals to label people as “plants” or “stooges” and then declare that they should not be posting on this blog.

    Please do not do this. Anyone can post on Thou Art The Man as long as their submissions meet the comment guidelines. If you have a concern about a commenter or think that an approved comment does not meet the comment guidelines, please e-mail me from the contact page if possible.

    By concern, I mean an issue such as bullying not “I just don’t like what this person is saying.”

    I know that the topics discussed on this blog are emotionally charged. We often say things that we regret. If that happens, please consider submitting another comment that apologizes for the content in a previous comment. Some people have asked if comments can be edited. In general, the answer is no. Please post as if the world will see what you’re posting.

    Thanks! Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

  9. Noevangelical

    This may have been said before…..
    I have only known a couple Reformed Baptists in my life, but the one thing that stood out in my encounters with them was their attitude toward children. They were vehemently against ministries that we geared toward the reaching children with the Gospel. They did not believe that a child below the mythical age of accountability could be saved, and they acted as if they hated children, imo.
    I wonder how much of their treatment of children comes from their theological biases? It was weird because both men were almost identical in their views. Both had the same personality, both were generally hostile people.
    Jesus’ words, (paraphrased) “Let the little children come unto me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these”, echoed in my mind whenever I talked with them on the subject.
    This abusive attitude they have toward children must be in the Reformed Baptist DNA. One other Reformed person I knew was convicted of sexual assault of a minor, and when the church let him lead the worship I knew that the Lord was not in that place.
    These people feed on God’s people like they feed on bread. It’s as natural to them as that. So I am wondering where this attitude toward children comes from in their teaching? When do they learn this, and when do they learn the behavior that it is ok to gratify their own lusts and beat children?
    Obviously, they are ignorant of Jesus warning on offending the little ones WHO BELIEVE IN HIM!
    Good grief…


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