ARBCA Speaks With Forked Tongue – Part II Denies Culpability in Cover-Up of Chantry Abuse

By | October 31, 2018

“Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.”
-Francis Bacon


On April 25, 2017, ARBCA published an “Announcement Concerning Tom Chantry.” I wrote an article in response to the announcement in which I easily demonstrated ARBCA was being dishonest.  You can view that document in the blog article here.

In the article I stated:

“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.”

I received some private emails from the usual ARBCA supporters challenging my assertion that ARBCA was dishonest in their “Announcement.”  In their latest document, published on October 25, 2018, ARBCA admitted their “Announcement” contained errors. They stated:

“The Administrative Council issued the ARBCA Announcement to the 2017 General Assembly without access to sufficient documentation and information to make some of the definitive statements included in the Announcement. Consequently, some of those statements were inaccurate, and the Administrative Council should issue a letter of apology to member churches.”

I wonder if I can expect to also receive a letter of apology from those who privately emailed me?

To the surprise of nobody who has been following the Thomas Chantry sexual abuse scandal and the ARBCA cover-up, this ARBCA report can also be described as misrepresenting material facts, evasive, and purposefully incomplete.

My purpose in this article is to expose just a few of the more blatant lies contained in the 2018-10-29 ARBCA AC Report on Thomas J. Chantry Part II

Brent Detwiler is currently working on a more thorough response to the document and it should be published in the near future.

The authors of the “ARBCA AC Report on Thomas J. Chantry, Part II” appear to have as their goal to exonerate their Association of any guilt in an intentional cover-up of the Chantry sexual abuse scandal.  To accomplish this goal they have to throw numerous individuals under the bus. Chief among this group run over by the ARBCA bus are the elders of Miller Valley Baptist Church (MVBC).

Pastor Chris Marley of MVBC responded to ARBCA with a well-written letter which can be viewed below. In his letter, Marley described what he termed an “egregious error” on the part of ARBCA.

Some synonyms for egregious are: terrible, appalling, awful, horrendous, atrocious, abominable, abhorrent and outrageous.

I have often been accused by ARBCA supporters of, among other things, breaking the 9th Commandment. For those of you who are  unfamiliar with the Decalogue, the 9th Commandment states: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” This is a command prohibiting testifying against another person falsely. It is essentially a command against lying. I am not a fan of throwing around accusations of breaking one of the Ten Commandments, but I believe I can legitimately recommend that ARBCA supporters consider Romans 2:21-24 prior to writing me any more accusatory emails.

MVBC Objections to ARBCA Ad… by on Scribd

Below is a photograph of John Giarrizzo on the ARBCA Advisory Council in 2000.  Giarrizzo, along with several of the other men on the 2000 AC, were the primary ARBCA leaders who conspired to cover-up the Thomas Chantry scandal. Below the photo are some quotes I have taken from an investigative report carried out by the Elders from Giarrizzo’s church. Giarrizzo lied to his fellow elders for eight months, stating he was not a member of the 2000 AC. He did so because he knew this AC was guilty of covering up the Chantry scandal.

Source: GCC Elder Investigation – John Giarrizzo

This report is focused on the deception and coverup of facts by ARBCA Pastor John Giarrizzo. It should be noted that Pastor John was an active member of the AC since the inception of the association in 1997 through 2002. Pastor John withheld this information from GCC elders until it was discovered by the Weinland’s and reported to the elders on August 4, 2018. For eight months GCC elders had been working off of the false premise, as communicated by Pastor John, that he was not on the ARBCA AC in 2000, an administrative council that he, himself, condemned.

Nick received a private email from Pastor John with the January 4, 2001 AC Meeting Minutes attached. The email did not have any narrative text. The subject line of the email read, “You gotta read page 3!” Nick opened the document and read it completely and then called Pastor John to find out the significance of page 3. Page 3 contained the General Summary report that was sent by the AC to all of the member churches and is already documented in this report. John was excited and told Nick that this proved that the AC members did not know anything about the 2000 incident involving children. Nick asked him what he was getting at and Pastor John explained that this information absolved he and the other AC  board members from knowing anything about children.  Nick asked Pastor John if he had read page 9 yet and he wasn’t sure.  Nick explained that he would wait for Pastor John to read the page while he waited on the phone. Pastor John stated, “What is that doing there? That’s not supposed to be there. It reads that it is confidential and not supposed to go out. I don’t remember seeing that. I think it might have  been added by somebody.” Nick explained to Pastor John that the page 9 entry indicated all of the AC members were emphatically notified of three levels of reports and instructed to keep the “distinction of 3 levels of reports is to remain confidential!!” Nick explained to Pastor John that the two exclamation points made it pretty clear that the AC wanted this information concealed and that is what people do when they are involved in a coverup. Nick pointed out to Pastor John that his name is all over the report. Nick asked him if he was present for the whole meeting and he said it was a conference call but he was there the whole meeting.”


Now I will briefly deal with just one of the blatant lies in the recent ARBCA report. You will notice that it doesn’t take long for ARBCA to begin lying in this document.  Specifically, in paragraph four of the Preface the ARBCA report states:

“None of the documentation relating to Mr. Chantry’s tenure at MVBC or the work of the
informal council in December 2000 was available to the current Administrative Council or accessible until after the completion of Mr. Chantry’s trial.”


Following the screenshot of the Preface of the ARBCA report, you will find screenshots taken of the State’s deposition of Don Lindblad by prosecutor Susan Eazer. Lindblad is a close friend of Tom Chantry, he served as his “advocate” in the 2000 ARBCA investigation of the sordid scandal which took place at Miller Valley Baptist Church while Chantry was the pastor there. While Lindblad was evasive and deceptive both in the deposition and on the witness stand during the first Chantry trial, he is actually speaking truthfully in the screenshots below.


Lindblad’s testimony stands in direct opposition to ARBCA’s claim that they did not have access to the documentation of the informal council in December 2000.

Source: 2018-10-29 ARBCA AC Report on Thomas J. Chantry Part II and Attachments


Source: 2018-7-18 P1300CR201600966 Eazer Deposition of Don Lindblad


Finally, below you will find a copy of an email Don Lindblad sent to ARBCA leaders Steve Marquedant, John Giarrizzo, Douglas Vandermeulen and Tom Lyon. This email proves, once again that the recent report by ARBCA wherein they stated in paragraph four of the preface the quote below is a blatant lie.


“None of the documentation relating to Mr. Chantry’s tenure at MVBC or the work of the
informal council in December 2000 was available to the current Administrative Council or accessible until after the completion of Mr. Chantry’s trial.”


Maybe someday we will be able to believe that ARBCA is committed to “striving for truth in all matters.” As of today, “they speak with forked tongue.”

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Todd Wilhelm



check this out.

Vince Wood

Just a thought…Is it really helpful, or honoring to God to use monikers like “lying” Tom Leone, or “Spanky” Tom Chantry? I believe that such unprofessionalism mutes your message. You present important information and I don’t want such unnecessary descriptors to get in the way of someone just coming to see the problems within ARBCA.

Yes, technically you have a point. However, it’s also always fun to sanctimoniously tell others how to run their blogs, while also nitpicking at the efforts of those who truly advocate for victims, right? ? That’s my take on the true intent of your comment. Others can disagree with me.

The tone and content of your comment suggests that the people who contribute to this blog owe you something. I disagree. If you don’t like this private blog for any reason, why not start your own?

I will warn you that it took more than four years of painstaking work to get Thou Art The Man to the point where it appears to have about 4000 regular readers.

Is that an effort you’re willing to undertake to honor God?

Also, the nitpicking you’re doing is arguably a logical fallacy. Does that tactic demonstrate professionalism? ?

Should you not also perhaps be more concerned about the lack of professionalism that ARBCA is showing with regards to protecting children from sexual predators than you are about a relatively trivial issue pertaining to professionalism?

I can’t speak for Todd or anyone else. I just hope that the content of this blog helps people use their own brains and hearts to make an informed decision about any issues pertaining to ARBCA.

To that end, Thou Art The Man features many excellent primary and secondary sources, which Todd very professionally acquired at his own expense.

Lastly –

Just a thought…what helpful or God honoring work have you done for child sexual abuse victims lately? Many of the advocates for these victims actually interact with and support them personally, for example. Do you?

If you really did care about victims, I doubt you’d be so concerned about how people address sexual predators and those who enable them.

Yours in professionism,

Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

Vince Wood

You have completely misread my comment. I am a pastor with first hand knowledge of the problems at Grace Covenant and have opposed them on several occasions. I also work diligently with survivors of abuse, domestic, child molestation and ministerial abuse providing counseling, support, and advice for navigating the church.. I am currently helping to expand a ministry to survivors of abuse in Pennsylvania (Refuge Ministries). I understand that you often get snarky, mean spirited responses. I am sorry that you have to deal with this. I understand how you could assume my post was just another one of these. I appreciate the excellent information you and Todd provide. I wanted to provide a suggestion that I believe might help some people hear your message. If you do not find it helpful, so be it.
In Jesus,

Thanks, Pastor Wood. I’m sorry that I misread the intent behind your comment. Please forgive me. In general, comments which do not start out with some sympathy for victims are suspect to me.

However, I still stand behind most of what I said.

1) The suggestion that this blog does not seek to honor God seemed offensive and unnecessary.
2) The idea that others have the right to tell Todd how to run his blog is not appreciated. Even I don’t do that. ?

I also stand by my assessment that you were nitpicking in an unhelpful way whether you meant to be or not.

We can start over with a clean slate. However, please be aware that other bloggers will likely also misinterpret the statements you made.

Thank you for work with victims. Like Todd, I will now consider your feedback in the spirit in which it was given.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Vince Wood


To be clear, I never suggested that this blog does not seek to honor God. My entire concern was predicated on the conviction that you and Todd are driven by two goals, 1) to honor God, and 2) to help survivors.

When we engage in name calling we appeal to those who agree with us. The one being called a name is not convicted of his error by calling him “lying Tom Lyon.” If we are going to see a change we must convict those who currently do not see the sin of Tom Lyon and ARBCA. Exposing the sin in ARBCA does that. This is what I am so thankful for with regards to you and Todd.

Thanks for the feedback, Pastor Wood. Here’s my final answer.

First of all, I think that you did and are still talking down to Todd and myself as if we were members of your church and subject to your authority.

We’re not. People in your church may tolerate being addressed by you in a condescending manner. We don’t.

In my experience, those who wish to ignore the truth or deliberately enable child abuse in churches will always find excuses for doing so. For several years, Todd was dismissed on the grounds that his work did not adhere to the standards of Matthew 18.

More recently, a memo seems to have gone out asking all available trolls and ignoramuses to accuse Todd and other advocates for abuse victims of breaking the 9th commandment.

Given the poor writing and reading comprehension skills of most of these folks, I doubt that half of them even know what the 9th commandment is.

Now you appear to be suggesting that calling someone like Tom Lyon a liar may invalidate the message of this blog despite its clear reference to legal documents and intelligent reasoning.

The numbers are not on your side, Pastor Wood. Todd has always expressed distain for liars like Tom Lyon and disgusting organizations like ARBCA. Even so, this blog has received about 1.5 million hits to articles about ARBCA in less than 4 months.

Prior to Todd’s coverage of Tom Chantry’s trial, this blog got 15,000-30,000 hits per month for all of its more than 350 articles, which were written over the course of several years.

This factual evidence indicates that Todd’s message is being taken seriously no matter what names he calls people.

We may also have different goals, Pastor Wood. Those who are familiar with the general ARBCA situation and do not currently condemn the sins and crimes of the thugs running ARBCA are either fools or enablers, at this point, in my view.

I don’t care to invest energy reaching such people as you do. Perhaps that’s because these folks aren’t paying my salary as they are likely paying yours either directly or indirectly.?

My primary goal now is warning people who are genuinely unfamiliar with ARBCA to avoid it.

The people who run ARBCA are just scammers in the “God business,” in my opinion.

I don’t care if calling the people who run ARBCA scammers and thugs offends you.

Privately, I attach much stronger language to people, Christians or otherwise, who enable child sexual abuse.

You are welcome to reply. At this point, I am unlikely to respond further.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Douglas R Belardi

Matthew 12:33-34 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Words Reveal Character
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Luke 6:42-44 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. 43 For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.

a former ARBCA church attendee

This is quite a report. You say that the MVBC elders got thrown under the bus. If they did, so did the Informal Council, Walt Chantry and Tom Lyon. Walt is sort of like the pope for ARBCA churches, so suggesting that he was at fault is pretty remarkable.
I think that the idea of a long-term coordinated conspiracy by ARBCA leadership to conceal the Tom Chantry issues is a stretch. I’m sure Walt did everything he could to limit the spread of this information. And the three levels of reports certainly accomplished that, perhaps at the direction of McKnight who could be seen as Walt’s representative with an interest in protecting the family name.
It seems to all be about pride. On Walt’s part and certainly Tom’s. I think ARBCA’s role was less active, more negligent than anything. They should have looked into the issues in more depth but probably made an assumption that since it was Chantry, it wasn’t serious.
It appears to me that whoever wrote the report is trying to promote changes in the organization to prevent this from happening again. It also seems like there has been some serious legal analysis and positioning.

Douglas R Belardi

ARBCA at all administrative levels is full of nepotism and corruption and needs to be burned to the ground
by the by – there is a Chantry hearing on Monday, isn’t there?


I think the MVBC elders should be thrown under the bus. According to Detwiler, the MVBC elders were still looking for ways to keep TC as their pastor as late as November 2000. Also according to Detwiler, the MVBC elders knew that the parents were finding 4″ long bruises on their children’s legs but never called the cops. Additionally, according to Detwiler, the MVBC elders and parents were told by the informal council they could call the police. Hello! how is this not gross negligence? How are the MVBC elders not being called to account? Shameful.


There is certainly a lot of blame to go around. I am flummox that the Miller Valley elders are getting such a pass on what the did, or should what they failed to do. They are to be the spiritual shepherds of their flock, not ARBCA. Why did they never call the cops of Tom? Say what you want, if the MV elders had done their job, not of this would have ever happened – none of it.


There is plenty of room for criticism of the Part II report. The first thing I noticed about it was that it contained none of the disclosures and disclaimers that Part I had, where it named those who had been a part of the ad hoc committee that wrote it and which specific past or present AC members had recused themselves from participating due to their role in the events in question. Part II gives us no indication of who did or didn’t contribute to it. Also, certain names that deserve more prominent placement get barely mentioned. While Walter Chantry and Earl Blackburn are named in some very specific criticisms, Tom Lyon’s name is mentioned precisely once, and in further places where he should have been mentioned again the report merely refers to his church (PRBC) or “the elders of PRBC”. I thought his name being omitted was most prominent when the report mentions that Don Lindblad “did not have access to the information in the Level 1 report or the Complete Report” until “he was provided a copy” when called to be a witness for Chantry, and the report neglects to mention that Tom Lyon gave Lindblad his own copy, as he was on the limited distribution list for the complete report.

That said, I give credit where it’s due and I think it’s a bit disingenuous to read the report and then say ARBCA attempted to completely absolve itself or certain individuals of the blame for the how the Chantry abuse allegations were originally handled. The report spends a great deal of print pointing out that there was no constitutional or confessional basis for the Informal Council that was sent to Arizona, and nobody had the authority to call for one. Would have been great if someone had pointed this out in, say, December of 2000, but at least they don’t dodge that fact here. Also the report specifically lays the blame for the formation of the Informal Council and its “disastrous results” at the feet of Walter Chantry for his “interference…with the autonomy of MVBC”, which couldn’t have been an easy thing for many ARBCA officers to write. The report also quite correctly states that the inclusion of Mike McKnight – then an elder at Walter Chantry’s church – on the Informal Council “strains the boundaries of good judgment”. The report makes mention a few times of the letter from the MVBC elders to Walter Chantry, the one in which they state a clear belief that the spankings the younger Chantry inflicted on the children there constituted “child abuse and could be subject to prosecution”, and the report states in a somewhat roundabout way that this should have resulted in a report being made to law enforcement.

Two criticisms I’ll make of this blog post. One, the letter you attach from Miller Valley Baptist Church pastor Chris Marley sharply criticizing ARBCA’s reporting is the one he wrote after the publication of the Part I report in September (which you’ve shared previously), whereas this post strongly implies that it was written in response the newer Part II report, which was issued a week ago and is the subject of this entry in the first place. If he or MVBC has issued a response to the Part II report, I’d love to see it.

Secondly, you state that the email you attach at the bottom from Don Lindblad to three ARBCA AC members “proves, once again that the recent report by ARBCA wherein they stated in paragraph four of the preface the quote below is a blatant lie.” I may struggle with reading comprehension at times, but I see nothing in that specific email that contradicts the statement you label “a blatant lie”. Lindblad seems to be referencing the Level 3 report and the ARBCA minutes from 2001 that mention that that the Informal Council’s work had been completed and its recommendations had been accepted. The email doesn’t state, let alone prove, that those three men, or the ARBCA AC in general, had access to the Level 1 or Level 2 reports at that time. Lindblad specifically says in the email that he’s “not in an position to reveal the document that both sides signed” (i.e. the Level 2 report), and it would make no sense for him to say that if he had actually attached that very document in that or an earlier email, which seems to be what you believe he’s saying there.


In the all too appropriate words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” I think they meant to use “opaque” but looked in the antonym section of their thesaurus instead of the synonym section. It also seems that they are confused as to what “publicly available” means. If the public can walk into a court and purchase the documents, chances are they are publicly available 😉

“Available for review, under supervision…by appointment during the General Assembly.” They seem to have some control issues. Seeing as how they constantly claim that they they have no authority of the member churches, they are sure asserting an awful lot of authority over them. Who do they think they are fooling? You have to wonder just how “heavily redacted” these documents will be. I’d be willing to bet good money that more than just names will be redacted.

Yeah, I don’t think you should hold your breath waiting for an apology. It isn’t their style to apologize unless they are forced to, much like they only address documents and issues unless forced to. Would they have included the confidential minutes from Jan 4, 2001 if they hadn’t been quoted in the Grace Covenant Church documentation? I think not. They had it all along, but they didn’t address it until it was leaked to the public. Such honorable men, NOT!

Not Going to Be Manipulated

What a joke. Once again they blame everyone else for what’s wrong (saw that coming). Same tune, different report. Hopefully the people in ARBCA churches will read this pile of nonsense and see right through it. Nothing is going to change with this organization. It’s unbelievable how much these guys are acting just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. When confronted with an issue, they jump through hoops and bend over backwards to try and prove their innocence.


Makes me shudder to think Linblad spoke at our church. I can not believe the gall that he has to say the MVBC people just need to let this go and they have no authority to go after Tom Chantry, when he knew Tom had abused children for his own pleasure! How could he go to bed with a clear conscience while not showing any concern for these children and their families that Tom abused. How cold hearted! Where is the love of God in his actions?


It seems pretty obvious now why they convinced MVBC to give up their rights over Tom and moved him to a church that was pro-Chantry. How better to get him away from anyone who might hold him accountable for what he did and get him back into “ministry?” Indeed, very cold hearted! There was no concern for the children Tom had abused and no concern for any children Tom may abuse in the future.

Not Going to Be Manipulated

I’m starting to wonder if this whole thing was crafted back in 2000 to prepare for any future action that might be taken against ARBCA. Maybe the “informal” council was put together purposely as informal so they could later claim that it wasn’t supposed to be done according to their own constitution. That way, they think no matter what happens, they can point to the fact that the council shouldn’t have been assembled and there for any evidence presented is essentially tainted. Declare a mistrial, wash your hands of the whole mess, and act like everything’s normal.

Not even any compassion for TC’s victims, just cover up any hint of wrongdoing and move on like everything is normal. Oh, but don’t worry, they’ll have some sessions at their 2019 general assembly about reporting laws and they’ll look at some of their policies. Whew, I can tell you I’m gonna sleep better tonight knowing that.