“Not sure just how much of what I have written you have seen but I have been careful to make a distinction between the member churches of ARBCA and the men who constitute the power center of this organization. I am sure your church like mine (for five years) have little experiential knowledge of just how things work. It is only when the will of these men who constitute a cabal of what they themselves consider to be “trusted” men is crossed that you are made to feel the pressure these men can bring to bear. The very fact that Lindblad on the witness stand could speak of the full report that was read by only a few and then sealed being done so as the result of angry letters from Walt should give you a little hint of just how things are done in the Association. I do not fault you or your church for your ignorance but would encourage you are in light of the facts that came out in the trial and the testimony of those who have had just awful experiences with these angry, secretive and unjust men to be ignorant no longer. Start asking questions as to why they have done the things they have done over the years and demand honest answers and then see for yourself what kind of response you get. I would wager it would be not very different from the angry, secretive and unjust responses I and others have received in the past.”
Based upon this understanding (received through Tom’s eyes and ears), my letter is written in the spirit of Luke 17:3 “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him.” Since you are a loving father to three children, you will understand how we are deeply grieved and offended if we perceive that our children have been mistreated. I can say that I hope no one ever treats your sons and daughter as you have treated Tom in this matter.
…When you proposed the specific measures of Monday the 6th, you recommended the intolerable. You were proposing diabolical procedures regularly employed by Marxism and cults with the intention of breaking a person psychologically.
…These exercises do not lead to humility but to humiliation. I hope no one ever attempts to subject your children to community criticism, evaluation and judgment, especially with the discussion framed upon non-concrete attitudes of heart.
…With the measure you proposed Tom lost all confidence in you. Thus his resignation. Thus his feelings that his repentance has not been accepted.
As you can see, under the circumstances the parting is not with “good feelings” on the part of Tom or his parents. Under any circumstances it would have been with sadness and regret. But it might have come with mutual respect expressed.
Excerpt from letter written by Walter Chantry to MVBC Elder Rich Howe, November 9, 2000
It is my understanding that Walter Chantry never did seek reconciliation with the Elders of the Miller Vallery Baptist Church. Based on Walter’s quote at the top of this page, I believe I can say that Walter Chantry’s brand of Calvinism has “missed its mark!”
Of interest to me is the fact that Walter, 62 years old in 2ooo, rushed to the defense of his little boy, Tommy. Tom was 30 years old in 2000! I guess he must not have been mature enough to handle his own problems. I doubt this was the first occassion Walt ever had to clean up Tom’s mess. It is also interesting to note that Walt never called Rich Howe to get his side of the story prior to writing him a nasty letter. Rich testified in court that he was fairly good friends with Walt, and Walt mentions in the opening lines of his letter (below) all the kindness that Rich had shown Tom and Walt’s family over the previous five years. Was father Walt perhaps aware of Tom’s “pedophilic disorder?” Did he go straight to the attack in an attempt to silence the elders at MVBC? It sure would seem so. Walt mentioned the “intolerable” treatment of his boy, Tom but has never mentioned the intolerable, sadistic, horrific treatment that numerous children have suffered at the hands of his perverted son. What shining examples of Christians these Chantrys are – the pride of ARBCA!
Note – Thanks to DS for typing out the text of Walter Chantry’s handwritten letter!
I am sad to be writing this letter. You and Susan have shown so much kindness to Tom and to our family over the past five years. These memories make it possible to hope that a letter will contribute to an understanding on the occurrences which led to Tom’s resignation yesterday.
My understanding of the situation (from Tom) is the following: Tom committed very specific and concrete acts which we would all call indiscretions. It was right for the elders to confront him on these acts when they came to your attention. Tom confessed to you (elders) and to the offended parties that the acts were sins and he included in his confession that proud thoughts led to the offenses. When it became known to a large number of families in the congregation that those incidents had occurred, it was decided to discuss the matters of the indiscretions and of Toms repentance for them with each family of the congregation. Tom was on board throughout this process.
Some time last week end Tom perceived a serious shift in the discussion. Through your comments to Tom, it now appeared to him that both of you and other members of the congregation were no longer speaking of the specific acts for which he had apologized. There was now a general discussion of any aspects in his life that appeared to be “proud.” When on Monday night Tom attempted to express how the discussion had changed, you silenced him with a sharp rebuke.
On Monday the 6th you required of Tom 1.) an indefinite suspension from public ministry. 2.) a public congregational meeting in which all would be invited to express their opinions about Tom and his ability to minister at Miller Valley – supposedly this would include the evaluations of this “pride.” 3.) the congregation would be invited to watch Tom closely for 30 days after which the congregation would evaluate “the sincerity of his repentance.”
Based upon this understanding (received through Tom’s eyes and ears), my letter is written in the spirit of Luke 17:3 “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him.” Since you are a loving father of three children, you will understand how we are deeply grieved and offended if we perceive that our children have been mistreated. I can say that I hop no one ever treats your sons and daughter as you have treated Tom in this matter.
When you allowed the discussion to turn (and joined the discussion) from the originally specified sinful acts to the vagueries of “pride” in general, that was a sin against Tom.
When you proposed the specific measures of Monday the 6th, you recommended the intolerable. You were proposing diabolical procedures regularly employed by Marxism and cults with the intention of breaking a person psychologically. Group or community criticism along with group or community judgment of the “sincerity” of one’s shaping-up is very destructive. It is usually entered into over issues like humility, love, kindness, sincerity. These are sufficiently ill-defined or subjective realities that none can ever say he is humble enough, loving enough, sincere enough. There is nothing concrete, yet the charges touch our self-condemnations that we need improvement in these areas. These exercises do not lead to humility but to humiliation. I hope no one ever attempts to subject your children to community criticism, evaluation and judgment, especially with the discussion framed upon non-concrete attitudes of heart.
After you had confronted Tom, and he confessed his sin and renounced future repetition of specified behavior, it would be necessary for the elders to evaluate whether they or the congregation could now accept Tom as pastor. Sometimes indiscretions confessed, apologized for, and put away leave people uneasy under our leadership. Elders must evaluate whether it is wise for his ministry to continue at Miller Valley or whether the offenses undermined the trust of the congregation. If the latter is judged to be true, then the elders may ask a minister to resign. But they may not turn to the worst forms of congregationalism and wash their hands of eldership responsibilities.
When a person has confessed to all the he has sinned, he has made himself extremely vulnerable. That is why in Luke 17:3 our Lord instructs immediate forgiveness, not indefinite probation and continuing questioning of sincerity. The last is psychologically cruel as well as objectively incorrect. From it Tom correctly concluded that you had lost all confidence in him. With the measures you proposed Tom lost all confidence in you. Thus his resignation. Thus his feelings that his repentance has not been accepted.
As you can see, under the circumstances the parting is not with “good feelings” on the part of Tom or his parents. Under any circumstances it would have been with sadness and regret. But it might have come with mutual respect expressed. Sincerely,