ARBCA Moves To Limit Liability

By | August 23, 2018

“If this were a trial of ARBCA, they’d be convicted.”

-Judge Astrowsky, Trial of Thomas J. Chantry
Source: The Verde Independent

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out ARBCA may be facing legal action in the near future and it appears even the brain trust of ARBCA, known as the Administrative Council, have figured it out.

What happened between the publication of their 2017 report and the Chantry verdict?

 

What has happened is that the Administrative Council of ARBCA has been exposed as men who misrepresent material facts and are evasive and purposefully incomplete in their dealings as it relates to Tom Chantry’s actions at Miller Valley Baptist Church from 1995-2000. They are beginning to feel the ire of the common folk and they are getting nervous, fearful that their little fiefdom is about to come crashing down. So what we now see in their letter distributed today is a classic “CYA” maneuver.  Unfortunately, you boys are about 18 years too late.

2018-8-22 AC ARBCA Letter to Members on Chantry by Todd Wilhelm on Scribd

 

The AC reports:  “The charges stemmed from the period of time [Thomas Chantry] was the pastor at Miller Valley Baptist Church” and cleverly goes on to point out that “No police report concerning Thomas Chanty was filed during this time.” (suggesting what?  that it wasn’t that serious?  That they couldn’t have known?  That it somehow lessens their culpability?)  What the AC fails to mention however, is that they sent a three man “informal council” (all of whom were ranking members of ARBCA) to “investigate” the allegations of abuse, and that three man council issued two separate reports, one of which was sealed from the eyes of the parents and the elders of Miller Valley Baptist Church (ask yourselves this, why should anything have been kept from the parents of the children who were abused???), but yet this report was freely provided to  Thomas Chantry, Tom Lyons, Walt Chantry, and most recently to Don Lindblad so that he could provide it to Chantry’s attorney in order to “help” him with Tom’s defense.

What the AC further fails to mention is that in that sealed report the council squarely found that Thomas Chantry had engaged in “inappropriate physical discipline of four separate children” and in fact that he admitted to same, and that they “firmly believed that Thomas Chantry used physical punishment as a regular part of the tutoring process of each of the children”.  The report goes on to state that this “raised serious concerns with the informal council” and that there was “strong evidence of some authoritarianism and angry humiliation by Thomas Chantry of some members of his flock.” And sadly, what the AC doesn’t want its member churches to know is that in that sealed report the informal counsel from ARBCA stated:  “The informal council members consider this pattern of behavior [by Thomas Chantry] to be very serious.  Taken in its entirety, the question must be raised did Thomas Chantry use this method of punishment for his own pleasure” and went on to warn the elders who assumed oversight of Thomas Chantry of that very serious concern. 

Most shockingly, the AC doesn’t mention in their letter to member churches, that despite all of these serious findings of  this informal council, made up of these so-called Godly Men who were sent down from ARBCA, none of those men reported the matter to police, as they were clearly obligated to do under the mandatory reporting laws.  Finally, the AC neglected to mention that despite these “strong concerns” of the three man council, less than a year and a half later, Thomas Chantry was teaching 5th and 6th grade children at the Christian Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois, where within two years he was again the subject of a police investigation for inappropriately spanking a 5 year old child (who was not even his student) in such a manner as to leave marks that were still present two days later.

While it is not surprising that ARBCA is now trying to minimize what Thomas Chantry did back in 1995 to 2000 while he was the pastor at Miller Valley Baptist Church, it is quite frankly inexcusable that they are hiding facts they know to be true from its member churches.  Even more appalling, Walt Chantry, Tom Lyons, Don Lindblad and other ranking members of ARBCA have for the past two decades, paved the road for Thomas Chantry to be in a number of positions (both as a pastor and a teacher) where he has had unfettered access to hundreds of vulnerable children.  As a parent, wouldn’t you want to know such things before entrusting your child’s care to a man such as Thomas Chantry?  As a member church, should you not expect more truthful reporting from the Association that you look to for guidance and dispute resolution?  Perhaps everyone should ask ARBCA why for the past 18 years they have hidden the true facts about Thomas Chantry and why they continue to do so today.

 

 

Here are a few powerful comments from individuals who have had enough of ARBCA’s cover-up:

I’m going to weigh in and shed some light on some things I know.

First, my husband and I were members at MVBC when all this went down. We had a young son there from 1999-2002. Over our son’s life, we have asked vaguely, not to give any false memories ourselves in case, heaven forbid, something like this happened to him. Thank the Lord the answer was always an innocent, “No.” He is now 22.

Second, we had NO idea what was going on until Tom fled in the middle of the night. More on who hid him out in a moment. But Tom was brought around to all the members to do the “forgiveness tour” as he called it, but all he asked forgiveness for from us was for his very bad attitude and temper. And boy did he have one!! Yes, Tom could preach your socks off. We learned a great deal under his teaching, but he was a horrible, mean, ill-tempered human being, and that’s with us not knowing who he really was – a predator!!

Third, we were brought in and were part of meetings with the ARBCA investigative council of 3 and remember them giving an update to a handful of us as they had broken us into small groups to disseminate information. I don’t remember what the question was, but I remember answering very passionately that “Tom is a liar!” I remember all 3 of those men were so shocked that a woman at the young age of 29 would very quickly make that type of judgment call about Tom Chantry. Turns out I was right all along.

Fourth, we knew all but one of the victims. We loved them, we taught them in Sunday School, our young son played with them, 2 of them are our family members, and we had NO IDEA this was going on. And now I feel horrible that we didn’t know and wonder what I could have done if I would have known. I feel so terrible for all of them. I pray that the God of peace will grant them perfect peace. I also am a victim of childhood physical abuse. I never did anything about it, and in my 40’s have had to wrestle down memories and thank the Lord, He has delivered me from my fears and nightmares. But I am so proud of these young adults for being brave and courageous and having the guts to face their offender and tell the truth even though it was painful and costly to their reputations, and they will never be able to put those private things back now that they have been made public. I have been praying for you during the trial and will continue as you have to consider whether you are good to go again. I hope you do!! I know that there will be justice. Lord willing, it will be on this side of heaven, but either way, there will BE JUSTICE. God is THE JUST JUDGE.

Don’t be quick to blame the parents. If you had a 10-year-old who this happened to and you found out all the details after the perpetrator had fled, it would be hard to put your young child through the experience of an investigation and a trial at that young age. They were so young, they had no point of sexual reference to know how to explain what happened. I don’t think most of them said much to the 3 person ARBCA council. How would you feel if you were a victim of this, only 10 years old, and 3 strange men come and ask you questions about what went on? I know I would have been intimidated. I know those who knew should have reported it, but even I didn’t know about the mandatory reporting law until we were at a non-ARBCA church that made every member take an 8 hour course on Arizona mandatory reporting laws and signs of abuse and what the policies of the church were. I’m so glad they do that!!

Lastly, we moved from Prescott to the Phoenix area in 2002 and were members for 1 year at Grace Covenant Church, an ARBCA church, where John Giarrizzo was and still is the pastor. One Sunday, we were invited to lunch after church at his house and the whole Tom Chantry/MVBC thing came up. He then, very arrogantly expressed that when Tom fled in the middle of the night, Tom came and hid out at John Giarrizzo’s house for 3 weeks. We sat there almost speechless. Again, at the young age of 31, I sat there and with horror asked, “Why did you do that? If Tom was innocent, why would he run?” And he expressed somewhat irritatedly that MVBC was a bunch of hoodlums out to get a good man, and he was going to do anything he could to prevent that. That is where the cover-up began!!
It wasn’t long after that lunch, that we were questioned by our elders to see if we needed to be church disciplined because we chose to keep our son in a Christian school that they supported at the beginning of the school year, but by October, when our son was in Kindergarten, they decided to have an all-out war with the elders of the church in charge of the Christian school. All Grace Covenant members were strongly advised to leave and go form a new school by our elders. We chose to stay at the school we were at. It was our parental right to choose the education best for our son, and he was thriving. Because we did that, we were seen as rebellious. So after having WAY TOO MUCH elder overreach into areas of Christian liberty, we were done with ARBCA churches. We were done being mind-controlled. We were done with the tyrannical rule. And we wrote a letter to resign our membership, and that’s when the elders showed up at our home to go over whether we were to be church disciplined and while they grilled us for information and names, we remained quiet and strong. They eventually relented, let us go, and left our house with me sobbing. Remember, I was already a victim of physical abuse. I don’t do well with men that have those horrible character traits of trying to strong-arm you.

In closing, I would like to say that all you MVBC peeps that have been quietly watching and reading this blog because I know we all are, I love you. We may have had a predator for a pastor that none of us really knew about, but we loved each other. To all the parents, my heart goes out to you. I love you and will be praying for you. The Lord knows your heart. For all you brave young people who did such an admirable job, know that we love you and have been here praying for you and cheering you on for strength and courage. For all of you who have fled the bonds of ARBCA churches, bravo!! Get out of there while you can! Those of you who are questioning if your ARBCA church is safe, read the article on Tim Challies blog, “Protecting Children From Abuse: An Interview.” It was posted last week. Also a great read was on “theblazingcenter.com – 6 Warning Signs of a Bad Pastor and Spiritual Abuse.” It was published on Aug. 1st. If you have any of that going on in your church, run!! Don’t put your trust in a pastor. Put your trust in Christ!! You can find a good reformed church that doesn’t involve elder overreach and tyrannical rule! We have.

And lastly, thank you Todd and Janna, for keeping us updated, and thank you to those who commented without being aggressive and argumentative to offer more insight so that we all had a safe place to come and get updates when we couldn’t be in the courtroom ourselves. I have followed the Twitter feed, this blog and ARBCA.org on Facebook and that has been very helpful to keep me and my husband updated with what was happening. We felt like we had skin in this game. I had really hoped and prayed that Tom would have been found guilty on all counts because I think we all know he IS…

Thank you, Susan Eazer. You have been dogging it on this case for years now. Thank you for fighting the good fight!!

 

 

All Died in the Wool ARBCA Leaders,

I find your blind loyalty to Thomas Chantry incredibly foolish and wicked. You care about your own desires more than God’s. I was a member of Miller Valley Baptist Church at the time of most of the abuse/molestation and you were not even present during the abuse but yet you have believed in a “Man” blindly and you weren’t even there at the time. I was a personal witness to Thomas Chantry’s behavior (Selfishness & Abusive Speech), and you were what….a thousand plus miles away at a minimum, except for John Giarrizzo(100 miles) and yet you blindly accept Tom’s word. Wow, you also believe Tom is a great preacher; I did too. I used to listen to his sermons on the road…..then I became a member of MVBC and found out who he really was when he wasn’t behind the pulpit.

Demons have more knowledge of scripture than a single man will ever possess but all of you would rather put children at risk in at least 3 different states than be the whistleblower. Whistleblowers usually are the ones who get crucified by the empire that is threatened by the truth coming out. The truth is called slander and gossip by the empire because it will expose the wicked leaders. You, ARBCA, chose to cover up Tom’s wickedness to save the empire for your own glory.

John Giarrizzo told me directly, in person, that he took Tom Chantry in when he fled MVBC in the dead of night….like a coward(Exposed). The innocent do not run; the guilty do. John Giarizzo, ARBCA pastor, ARBCA Council Member, aided and abetted a criminal in his home so Tom could flee his crimes against children.

I was there…I sat in one of the meetings with the investigative team to protect one of the victims during the secret ARBCA investigation(Not all of the truth came out that night). I was a representative for the victim. I have first-hand knowledge of the crimes Tom committed against these children. I knew who some of children were before the abuse and who they have become after the abuse. Tom’s abuse destroyed their lives, my grief for these children is an abyss because I have the knowledge.

ARBCA thinks they have got it all figured out…but they have no clue. I taught the same children as Tom; sweet children, innocent of the ways of a pedophile before the abuse….but you refuse to believe the truth and have exchanged it for your own narrative. Why, because just like so many before you, protect the empire, protect your legacy, protect ARBCA, protect Walter Chantry, protect the church, protect Tom but not the children.

What the HELL is wrong with you guys. You are not men. You are cowards. You are no better than the Roman Catholic Church who protected the priests rather than the children. You can’t hide from this one boys. The truth is coming and it with find you. The hidden crimes of Thomas Chantry and the ARBCA cover-up is festering like a boil and the putrefaction will rise to the surface and you will not be able to keep control no matter what you do. I have either been a member or attended at least 4 ARBCA Churches and I have seen the ELDER OVERREACH destroy the unity of the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. The control the elders have in the typical ARBCA church is evil…it is not like a gentle, kind shepherd. I do not have any power over you but the Almighty Sovereign God of the Universe does and He will defend his people…I have no doubt. Repent ARBCA Leaders, you have aided and Abetted an abuser, violator, and molester of children. If you can’t see that now, you are as blind as the Pharisees.

 

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AJ

J – I didn’t make it to BTC this year, but I’m glad you had a good time. I’ve always enjoyed the fellowship with other Christian young people from a Reformed background!

AJ

My heart goes out to all the victims & their families!
This year is this first time that I have heard anything about this.
I grew up Reformed Baptist – although we were never part of ARBCA, yet we did know of them. My family left that church when I was in my teens. Although, I have been to BTC a few times in the past 5 years & it has been nothing but edifying. In that same time I’ve visited SBC, BGC, PCA, Reformed Baptist and Non-denominational churches. I think that Marc & Pam are on to something as it did seem that most of the Reformed Baptist preaching was less expository and Christ-centered teaching and more of a focus on teriary doctrinal issues.
Another observation as I’ve grown older, it seems the hardest part of the Christian walk is faithfulness – following after Christ wholeheartedly.
Sorry if this seems a little incoherent, I’m still processing this article as I write. Blessings!

Louis

I am aware that the focus of this blog is the sexual abuse of children by pastors and I have been pleading with God that, where they are guilty, our justice system would mete out what is due to Tom Chantry & the men who enabled him. I know that “the Judge of all the earth will do right” and if these men do not repent of their sin and trust in Christ for its forgiveness, no matter what happens in our courts, God WILL deal with them on that day, if not before.
BUT while I long for justice to be served upon these men, my greatest concern is for the children who are their victims. Unless our sovereign God is merciful to them and the Great Physician does a spiritual healing work in them, it is likely that they will never darken the door of a church building again. And since the Church is “the pillar and ground of the truth,” outside the church they are unlikely to give much thought to the truths of the gospel and be saved. There is NO question that the Spirit of God can work outside the local church, BUT the hearing of the Word of God is His usual means of bringing men to Christ and the place where the Word of God is usually heard is in the local gatherings of the Church. If Tom Chantry molested these children, in and of itself, that sin is EXTREEMLY grievous BUT if that sin pushes these children away from God’s means of grace, without which they can not be saved, that is MORE grievous yet, because his sin has contributed, not only to their emotional and psychological instability BUT it has contributed to their eternal ruin. I am NOT downplaying the heinous nature of child molestation. It is sin against the child and, worse yet, it is sin against God, but that which contributes to the damnation of one of these little ones is more evil yet.
To do anything to a child (or an adult, for that matter) that would push them away from Christ, the ONLY remedy for lost sinners, is wicked beyond measure. And even though child sexual molestation in the church does that very thing, there are other actions which lead to the same result. I know of children who, as adults, refuse to attend church services or even refuse to talk about their eternal souls because of the way they were treated by “church people” when they were children. They remember being pushed away by unloving children of unloving parents, who, when approached about their behavior, made it clear that they thought those actions were no bid deal. They remember not being invited to the birthday party of one of their peers because their peer attended the Christian school while they did not. They remember the pastor treating them in a different way than he did the children of his most loyal supporters. They remember “Christian” adults and their children treating them in a less-than-loving manner and have attributed that behavior to all who profess Christ. To this day, their response is “if that is Christianity, I want no part of it!” What is my point? My point is that while we focus upon the sexual molestation which this trial is all about, let’s not forget that anything we (as professing Christians … “church people”) do or allow our children to do to another child can have eternal consequences.
Is God sovereign and can He save no matter what the circumstances? Can He save no matter what is in the background of the individual? YES! BUT He uses means to bring about those ends, and, depending upon how we treat those He brings across our path (children or adults) we will be a means either of their salvation or of their damnation. Whether or not it be sexual, what we do or do not do has consequences. Should we hate the molestation of children and the physical, psychological and emotional damage it causes? Absolutely “YES!” But while we are hating that instrument of the devil inthe damning of many souls, let’s expand our hatred to those other ways that he uses as well. Most of us would never sexually molest a child BUT I fear there is much we consciously or unconsciously do which produces the same result of driving them away from Christ and His Church.

JSL

I can’t directly respond to KJ’s comment so I’ll make a comment of my own. Thanks KJ. You articulated, much better than I could, an elusive doubt which I have been struggling with but could never describe. I hope others will read KJ’s comment as this honestly and accurately describes many ARBCA – past members.

Colleen S

I have read the two reports of the informal committee several times.

The “Confidential” report explains how the three men went about their investigation, what they found. It makes recommendations and states conclusions. It’s signed only by the informal committee. This leaves the independency of the Miller Valley Baptist church in tact. MVBC can take the recommendations and operate as they see fit. The three men in the informal counsel should definitely have reported to the police, and recommended the elders and parents do likewise. But otherwise, the report appears to be in line with what one would expect when calling in help.

The second report appears to exert authority over MVBC with a purpose to bring reconciliation between Tom Chantry and MVBC, and to quiet their accusations against one another. Like the confidential report, it does not address the crimes involved, and the necessity of these crimes being reported to the police. It emphasizes forgiveness – of the (very likely) unrepentant. It states not all is known – but it expresses a desire to put it all out of sight – at least out of MVBC’s sight.

I also read the Aug 22, 2018 ARBCA letter to the churches, written after the verdict was read in the trial last week.
The fourth paragraph begins, “ARBCA is not a denomination with any control whatsoever over local churches or their pastors, whether members of ARBCA or not, except to provide assistance, counsel, make recommendations and….”

The second report, the one given to the MVBC, oversteps the authority of ARBCA claims they have over member churches. The informal counsel should have given MVBC the “confidential” version report and stepped away (and reported it to the police). Perhaps that’s what these three men wanted to do.

Of course, MVBC elders had no idea there was any report other than the one they were asked to sign. I don’t blame them. But according to the Aug 22nd ARBCA letter’s description of ARBCA’s authority, ARBCA overstepped their authority by withholding the first report, and asking MVBC to sign the second report.
****************************
Looking forward – are we all conscious of what authority our pastors and associations have over us? Will we willing let them overstep their authority? Are we in a church/association which silences any dissension – and doesn’t let us express any disagreement with the elders/leaders?

JER

Does the prosecutor have any legal options since learning that one of the jurors lied about his/her bias? Is it correct to assume that the juror wanted to be chosen for the jury so that they could be the cause of a hung jury?

Sonja

With the documents being released, is there a copy of Walt Chantry’s scathing letter to the investigators? I believe that’s to he addressed it. If I missed it, apologies. If the letter is as angry as is described, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If there’s a link or screen shot, thanks!

MLI

I was intrigued by the comment Mac and Pam made when they said that over the last ten years the preaching has gradually gotten more academic and the gospel not preached as much (my paraphrase). This is exactly what happened in the ARBCA church I was a member of for 15 years and it happened over the same time period of time. Our pastor used to have “applications” and then it switched to “observations”. Has anyone else’s noticed this in their ARBCA churches?

Darrel

Thanks to all who have brought this matter to the forefront. No doubt this is just the tip of the iceberg of what has been happening in “churches” over the past several decades. It is refreshing to see the boldness of your stance and continued efforts to expose this evil found in “elders.”

To those who are genuinely born again and know that the Lord Jesus is totally Sovereign in everything (or at least you should know this) please consider that there is a lot more at stake here than just the ultimate conviction of TC on the remaining charges and any additional ones that may be brought to bear. The cover up is almost always worse than the original sin/crime and reveals those, who by complicity, are just as guilty as the perpetrator himself. None of those involved in this cover up will ever escape the knowledge and eye of God Almighty. Even though the verdict was a disappointment, the “fat lady” has yet to sing and those guilty of crimes have not escaped (nor will they). This is far from over for all the guilty, so let them shake in their boots and let fear grip their heart. Eventually they will all be publically humiliated as is the case for all who mock and defy the Lord Jesus. It may not be immediate, but it will come. Be content to watch the Lord root out ALL the evil ones while we remember those who have been devastated by the actions and lies of TC (they are the truly bold and brave ones) along with those who mock God by excusing the evil of these men. Pray that the Lord will not only expose the evil (Eph. 5:11) but glorify His Name as well. Let the supporters of TC and company have their say, they are only condemning themselves by their own words; the same words that they speak will become their judge and by doing so we will know their names and their eternal fate. May the Lord be pleased to grant continued boldness and strength to those on the front lines of this war; healing for those whose lives have been devastated by all of this; and unrelenting exposure of those who have done these despicable deeds and the ones who have charity in their hearts for evil.

Douglas Belardi

agreed

Mac & Pam Villanueva

In 2000, when Tom Chantry came to our church our congregation was not given any information. We heard bits through the grapevine that he had been accused and victimized and was at our church to heal. Because our members are not given to gossip and very trusting of our elders, we welcomed Tom Chantry and did not question his character.

Even though, at that time, our pastor, whether or not he agreed, knew at least this much: (from the sealed report)

“The informal council members consider this pattern of behavior [by Thomas Chantry] to be very serious. Taken in its entirety, the question must be raised did Thomas Chantry use this method of punishment for his own pleasure.'”

We remember that he (our pastor) tried to set Tom Chantry up with a young single woman at our church. We are very thankful it did not work out. (no doubt she is also)

The pastor (that we still love and respect) had enough information to, at least, be cautious and yet Tom Chantry preached regularly to us and was then placed in a school, married, then pastored another church. As a result, much damage has been done to so many people and to the gospel. We won’t judge our pastor, or his motives, but leave that to God because He is perfectly just and merciful. We hope the best and will continue to pray for him.

It’s ironic that this blog, called “Thou Art the Man” is so quick to call all the ARBCA pastors evil. Speaking of “the man”, David, 1st Samuel 13:14 says, ” Jehovah has sought out a man after his own heart.” “The man,” David, committed adultery. He covered the adultery with murder and continued unrepentant until confronted by Nathan. The best of men are capable of the worst of sins, “None is righteous, no not one.” David was exposed and he repented. To be a pastor must be the most difficult job on earth. These men made decisions based on the information as it became available to them. They may have justified themselves and they may not have told the whole truth. It is not our intent here to excuse or accuse. We hope for truth, justice, repentance and mercy for any and all of them who have sinned by covering what should have been exposed. “All things are possible with God”

We have been a part of an ARBCA church for more than 20 years. Our church is family. We cherish what we have learned about the free, sovereign grace of God. When we first came to this church the preaching was book by book verse by verse. The gospel was clear in the preaching. Over the years the preaching seems to us to have become more academic and topical over the last 10 years. We have struggled with this and often questioned if the gospel has been overshadowed by an emphasis on pedantic theology. There seems little hope of a child or an unsaved visitor hearing the gospel at our church. We don’t say these things without fear and trembling and have often examined ourselves and assumed the fault must be entirely there. It may be.

Leaving our church is one of the most difficult things we have ever had to do. It will cost us dear friendships and our reputations. Many of the people we love will question our hearts, loyalty and motives. They may be angry with our conclusions and decision to leave. Sadly, we expect our relationships with the people we love most in this world to be awkward at best. We hope that they will be understanding and not judge us too harshly even if they believe we are dead wrong. We will continue to love and pray for them and, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

JSL

Mac and Pam. I understand your concern and rather appreciated your comment. You do realize, however, that Scriture itself does not conceal the wickedness and folly of even good men. I met the 3 man counsel in Prescott and I personally don’t see them as wicked. There are others involved who are descriptively wicked. What I struggle with, and to which I’m grateful for Todd and his crew, is that in failure of complying with State law early on, as was done by whom I really harbor no ill will towards, is that not at least an omission of duties and a form of wickedness? No doubt the parents, God bless them, have agonized over this question. However, men who wrote and saw the unsealed report were in a unique position to do something on behalf of the victims. They didn’t. Others overtly rejected and tried concealing the report. The latter is gross wickedness. Is the former at least an omission of a duty? I’m going to keep referring back to this website for a complete answer.

God bless finding a new church. It is hard.

Thanks for your comment. I think it’s excellent. Todd can certainly correct me if I’m wrong. However, a few weeks ago I think that Todd and I agreed that while people are welcome to criticize the parents of victims elsewhere, this blog would not be a place for saying deragatory things about them.

I’ve interacted with many of the parents of victims over the past 7 years. Most feel they made mistakes and are devastated as a result. Some are estranged from their children, possibly permanently.

However, none of these parents chose to set up committees and create reports that’s sole purpose was allowing someone like Tom Chantry to keep beating up and molesting young children.

I know that ARBCA is trying to frame parents right now, because it’s likely to be sued. It’s just a ruthless two-bit organization in panic mode.

However, I don’t think that any person of integrity should have trouble discerning who the real criminals are.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

C S

Pam and Mac,

Thank you for sharing this. You express a loving, gracious spirit.

I was with you when Tom Chantry came. I remember the church being told not to ask him why he came. I also remember he was preaching there after a while. I was astonished more recently to find out that he had hurt children, and hope none of the children were hurt at our church. (And none other than the 2004 incident elsewhere.)

I’ve read the two letters from the 3 man informal investigative team wrote. These men, and the elders at MVBC may have had clear consciences about what they did. Perhaps out of respect, or fear, some didn’t ask more questions, or didn’t rock the boat. Perhaps they felt they had a time limit. They didn’t want to embarrass someone. They were trying to handle it in the church, according to scripture.

… I try to understand it from their point of view.

But obviously things should have been done differently. What should we do if we are in a similar situation? How can the church we are in try and prevent such things from happening? It’s up to all of us to fear God, to study his word, and to listen humbly to our brethren, but also to speak up and act when appropriate, even if it will cost us dearly at the time.

We left the church you are leaving many years ago, it sounds like it is for very similar reasons. It was painful. I trembled and thought I would never be happy again. Perhaps we were wrong? We also lost many dear friends. I felt some despised us, as they thought we weren’t strong enough for the preaching there. But we’ve been a part of another congregation for many years now, and served the Lord. We’ve grown to love God’s word more. We’ve seen Christ in many of our brethren, in their grace, patience, humility, kindness, love. We’ve been loved. May the Lord bless you both. May He hear our cries for our dear brethren, too.

Thank you for this very gracious and thoughtful response.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Van Helsing

To me, it is unfortunate that you still cannot see or accept the fact that ARBCA is a CULT with Walter Chantry as the leader and all the rest his acolytes. They accused Al Martin of spiritual abuse and authoritarianism but themselves are the masters of those evils. As such, it is safe to assume that every ARBCA pastor is briefed by the cult leaders as to the latest news making the rounds especially news that can damage the cult in any way. This makes all ARBCA pastors culpable and they are without excuse. Then along comes Tom Chantry the heir apparent to his father but minus all the social graces (the embarrassing lunatic in the room) and suddenly ARBCA has a problem since Tom is on the loose after escaping from the asylum (IRBS) and there is no telling what he might say or do to wound the body of Christ. Did these ARBCA “men without chests” care about the possible damage Tom would (not might but WOULD) do to kids, families, or the church? NO, because they are not Christians. Their livelihoods depend upon ARBCA so they are slaves to this unbiblical system. Like Tom, they worship themselves, their leader, and their power and not the Lord of the universe. That FACT has become all to evident to me through this cover-up quagmire.

Ole Ganny

Mac and Pam,

After spending almost 30 years in a reformed church my husband and I left over 5 years ago. I will not respond to some of your post but I will say, I lost all respect for our lead elder many years ago. The ‘love’ shown to us by the elders was superficial at best. As soon as we left we were lied about and gossiped about. We were also shunned by many of our so called ‘friends’. I have never considered any of them family. We have never been treated like we were when we left. We have continued to also pray but I find myself praying for their souls. Praying for you both as you make this move. It’s very hard and we are still in the process of healing.

RJ

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Villanueva,
Thank you for being humble, gracious and bold. I’m praying that the Lord would guide and comfort you as you move on from your church family. I pray that the people you left will be humble and gracious also, as well as discerning.
While I agree that the best of men are capable of the worst of sins and that no one is without sin, we must remember that David tried to cover up his OWN sin. (Proverbs 28:13) YHWH sent Nathan to hold David accountable and confront the sin he wanted to hide. It was love to call him to repentance and tell him, “Thou art the man!” “Your pastor” (and many of the ARBCA leadership who hid Mr. Chantry’s sins and enabled him to further sin and hurt others) was not a Nathan to Mr. Chantry. I hope you have been or will be a Nathan to “your pastor”. Blessings to you both!

JSL

Todd and Janna. Thanks. Your response to J was better than mine. And keep up the good work, please. Now more than ever we need you. I too was a member at MVBC from 1992 – 2004 and the two comments you posted above are people I was well acquainted with and they told me their story about their dealings with other ARBCA churches years ago and it is quite reliable. Unfortunately, this is the very sad tale of too many members in ARBCA churches. Keep it up.

The Surveyor

Thank you. JSL

JSL

Pleasure, Surveyor! Hope you guys are doing well!

Roberto G

I am very curious what ripple effect this will have on the Arbca school called IRBS Theological Seminary. Are there teachers there who were involved in the TJC case?

Ciaran

Hi Everyone,

A quick note from Janna. Thanks for all the support you’ve shown me and Todd.

I’m behind on answering comments, and was hoping to catch up if traffic died down after the trial. Since the blog got almost 27,000 hits yesterday, I’m still behind on answering comments. 🙂

This is because maintaining the blog on the tech end takes more time with so much great traffic. God is good!

I am getting to comments slowly. If you posted a comment you really want me to respond to, please send it by e-mail to the address on the contact page.
This is especially if it came in more than a week ago.

If you’re having a tech issue, please e-mail me and I’ll try to individually trouble shoot it. This type of request is welcome.

Also, I am testing out a new comment program as the current one is inadequate. I’m hoping to roll that out next week.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Samuel Conner

Missing from the 8/22/18 letter:

* expressions of grief that such conduct could have taken place in an ARBCA church

* anguish over the suffering of those who experienced the assaults

* dismay at the disrepute this brings on the Name of Christ.

——

It has the “feel” of David reacting to the news that Bathsheba was pregnant.

They are the men.

Van Helsing

Well Samuel, I was moved by what you wrote and that would have been the truly Christian thing to do – for people who honestly knew and loved the Lord. I have come to believe that these ARBCA men have moved away from any semblance of knowing and loving the Lord and for quite some time now. When Elder Owens from MVBC told Tom, while leaving the stand, that he did not believe him to be a Christian I had chills shoot down my spine. He was correct and therefore that implicates ARBCA – almost too incredible to believe – wolves in sheep’s clothing – suddenly all too real for me.

RJ

How well said and, sadly, too accurate.

Van Helsing

When I read the 8/22/2018 CYA letter to ARBCA churches I immediately thought of one thing: Matthew 27: 24 – the verse in which Pilate “washes his hands” about the Jesus issue and places it back onto the Jews. The Christian Sanhedrin ARBCA “Super Apostles” doing their thing again. Being heavily involved in exposing the RCC clergy sex abuse scandals at one time I know that ARBCA has taken a page out of every corrupt catholic bishop’s cover-up play book. There is NO accountability with bureaucracy and ARBCA is an unBiblical bureaucracy.

Todd and Janna, we are earnestly praying for your continued strength and courage in this HUGE demonic battle. You are doing an invaluable service to the entire Christian community. It has become clear to me that some kid of “super-force” of malignant evil has overtaken this entire affair causing many to become blind and stupid to the documented facts. Thank you for honoring our Lord and Savior – the Lord Jesus Christ by bringing light to this darkness. My only advice as “Van Helsing” would be to pack plenty of sharpened wooded stakes the size of telephone poles and obtain about 1,000 – 55 gallon drums of
holy water to chase the malignant demonic away. 🙂

“…we moved from Prescott to the Phoenix area in 2002 and were members for 1 year at Grace Covenant Church, an ARBCA church, where John Giarrizzo was and still is the pastor. One Sunday, we were invited to lunch after church at his house and the whole Tom Chantry/MVBC thing came up. He then, very arrogantly expressed that when Tom fled in the middle of the night, Tom came and hid out at John Giarrizzo’s house for 3 weeks. We sat there almost speechless. “

This is typical Giarrizzo. As I have said before, Giarrizzo tried his threatening tactics on me and my church when we sent ARBCA packing. He sent me an email telling me that if I did not repent of criticizing ARBCA pillars like Earl Blackburn, God would remove his blessing from our church.

Well Johnny boy, we called you out then and we call you out now in front of everyone. I hope more and more of the flock you have long been lording it over will get free of the oppression they have been under.

Ciaran

I’m curious if any issues at GCC in any way affected The Building Tomorrow’s Church conference (http://www.buildingtomorrowschurch.com/). That’s actually the first place I heard the Giarrizzo name.

Anyone here attend BTC and what were your thoughts about it?

EP

I have not attended that conference. Its website states that BTC is a ministry of Grace Covenant Church and “operates under the oversight of GCC elders”, though I believe in its ten-year history it has largely been organized and run by David Giarrizzo, not John. I assume they are brothers. That probably doesn’t answer your question, but that’s all I’ve got.

J

I attended the Building Tomorrow’s Church conference for the first time this year (2018). I found it very uplifting, and met a Godly group of mainly young people, but people of all ages.

I know very little of the goings on around the situation, but I am praying for those involved. I understand John Giarizzo to be a godly man (and only recently met him at the BTC conference). I also know we can all be guilty of sin in a fallen world. Some of the most godly biblical men did far worse things than (either intentionally or not) cover up someones sin. We can all be guilty of this, but God will deal with the situation.

May we all have some grace to go along with the truth, knowing the state of our own hearts.

Please keep talking ARBCA defenders!

Excusing the deliberate and illegal cover up of child sexual and physical abuse pertaining to your churches on the grounds that, “but Hitler was far worse,” is the surest way to keep children from being entrusted to your care.

What do these pastors have to do to convince you that they’re not fit for ministry? Practice human sacrifice on the church lawn?

Who cares what they do as long as they smile and shake your hand after church, right “J?”

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

P.S. ARBCA is covering up crimes not just sins. Unless you want to risk having to spout silly pious platitudes in prison, “J,” I suggest you invest some energy in learning the truth about this situation and what your legel responsibilities are regarding the treatment of children in your church. It seems as though discussing your ethical responsibilities is a lost cause.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Headless Unicorn Guy

What do these pastors have to do to convince you that they’re not fit for ministry? Practice human sacrifice on the church lawn?

“I kill my own mother and still they cheer me!”
— Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (Caesar Nero), in Paul Maier’s historical novel Flames of Rome

Vince Wood

In 2004, John’s Giarrizzo and the elders of Grace Covenant Church excommunicated a woman for “insubordination” when she refused to allow her husband back into their house. She had kicked him out after he made sexual advances toward their young teenage daughter. I could not use the adjective “godly” to describe John, with whom I have had much personal interaction.

Headless Unicorn Guy

As I have said before, Giarrizzo tried his threatening tactics on me and my church when we sent ARBCA packing. He sent me an email telling me that if I did not repent of criticizing ARBCA pillars like Earl Blackburn, God would remove his blessing from our church.

i.e. He tried to put a Hex on you.
Did he go into any details as to what “remove his blessing” would result in?
Cancer? Death of your Children? Financial Ruin?

Nope. That would be too specific and expose his false “prophecy”!!