First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA Resigns From ARBCA

By | October 3, 2019

First Baptist Church of Clinton, Louisiana has resigned from the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. As you can see from their letter below, this action was effective on September 27, 2019.

Following their resignation letter (as a part of the same document) is a timeline of the actions taken by the FBC of Clinton.

I commend the FBC Elders for writing an excellent letter to ARBCA, I hope it serves as a template for churches who will be withdrawing in the near future.  I also commend Tom Hicks and Fred Malone for their actions taken at the ARBCA General Assembly in April.

It is my belief that Brent Detwiler’s blog and pointed emails to Fred Malone and Tom Hicks, as well as Anthony Battaglia’s blog and correspondence with his former pastors,  was a major influence on these men to do the right thing. I doubt they will acknowledge this, but I do hope that they will communicate with the Battaglias and other families who have been treated poorly – resulting in their departure from FBC – and do whatever it takes to restore those relationships.

Following the FBC letter of resignation/timeline document, I have posted a section of Brent Detwiler’s post, “Will Tom Ascol & Founders Ministries Sever Ties With ARBCA & Remove Fred Malone & Tom Hicks from Ministry Team for Covering Up Tom Chantry’s Crimes.” I have done so because it is my feeling that while Fred Malone and Tom Hicks have taken commendable steps in confronting ARBCA leaders, resigning from ARBCA, writing an excellent resignation letter which they have made public, and distributing the letters written in 2002 and 2003 between Earl Blackburn, Tedd Tripp, and Richard Jensen, their earlier complicity in the coverup of the Tom Chantry abuse needs to be noted. It is my hope that Fred Malone and Tom Hicks will also make this situation right.


First Baptist Church of Cli… by Todd Wilhelm on Scribd



The following information is from Brent Detwiler’s post, Will Tom Ascol & Founders Ministries Sever Ties With ARBCA & Remove Fred Malone & Tom Hicks from Ministry Team for Covering Up Tom Chantry’s Crimes.

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2019 12:36 PM
To: Tom Hicks <>
Subject: My Appeal to Correct False Statements/ Reprove Fred for Lying/ Speak Out Against Corruption in ARBCA

Hello Tom,

I wanted to follow up since sending you my ten-part series on May 15, 2019.  I trust you have read the document and are prepared to take corrective action.  This is important since you have made a number of false and misleading statements to First Baptist Church Clinton in the past.

For example, you must realize by now how utterly false your comments were to FBC on October 15, 2017.

“Fred (Malone) and this other man (Don Lindblad) then speculated (between the two of them) that maybe Tom Chantry had spanked a child too hard or something like that, however, they had no knowledge of that speculation.  It was a mere speculation with no knowledge of facts of abuse at all.  That is both Fred and this man’s testimony to this day.  Also, another individual who was involved at the time has said that because of the way the proceedings took place, Fred couldn’t have had knowledge of the process or the findings of the council.  He said Fred couldn’t have known anything.”

The evidence in court documents and primary source documents conclusively shows Don Lindblad knew all about the “facts of abuse” and he conveyed that information to Fred Malone.  It was not in any way a “a mere speculation.”  Lindblad’s knowledge was based upon oral reports and written documents from the parents, victims and Miller Valley elders.

This information was passed on to Fred from Lindblad if only orally.  That is why Fred told Anthony Battaglia on July 28, 2017 that he knew about the “allegations of child abuse” having learned about them from Lindblad.

Here is what I wrote in my ten-part series.

Ten-Part Series
Page 126

In a similar way, Fred Malone, has also lied and covered up for Chantry and ARBCA.  He too has been on the Administrative Council over the years and is a good friend of Walt Chantry.  Anthony Battaglia was a deacon in his church.  Battaglia has graciously worked for his repentance and that of his fellow elders, Tom Hicks and Mitch Axsom.  Malone, like many other ARBCA officials and pastors, knew about Chantry’s child abuse and was part of the “investigation” in 2000 by his own admission.

Read, “Fred Malone’s Admission of Guilt” at and other articles on Battaglia’s website.

I also wrote the following.  “The list” refers to the seven men approved by Tom Chantry on November 28, 2000 to be “an arbitrating group to investigate and make recommendations.”  It included Fred.

Ten-Part Series
Page 140

Fred Malone of First Baptist Church of Clinton, Louisiana is on the list.  He knew all about the investigation of Chantry as a child abuser in 2000 even though he was not selected to be on the Informal Council and was not on the 2000-2001 AC.  This is very important to note since the AC Report – Part I and AC Report – Part 2 deceptively claim no one knew Chantry was alleged to have committed crimes except for the Informal Council and MVC elders.  That is blatantly untrue.

This transcript comes from a phone conversation between Anthony Battaglia and Fred Malone on July 28, 2017.  Malone, like Giarrizzo, has repeatedly lied, in an attempt to coverup his knowledge of Chantry’s crimes which he did not report to law enforcement.

See “Tom Chantry Child Abuse Case” at for more documentary evidence.

Fred Malone’s Admission of Guilt

Battaglia: Did ARBCA know about the allegations of child abuse back in two thousand?

Malone: Yes we sent three men to investigate it.

Battaglia: Did you know about the allegations of child abuse?

Malone: Of course I was on the investigation.

Battaglia: You went to Arizona?

Malone: No on the phone [with Don Lindblad].

Fred Malone was not technically on the investigation, like Bob Selph was not technically on the investigation, but he knew all about it from Don Lindblad and others like Walt Chantry who visited him in Louisiana after the IC reports came out on December 16, 2000.  Walt and Fred were close friends.  Fred was part of the coverup.  He did not report the alleged crimes.

This conversation between Fred and Anthony took place 3 months BEFORE your comments to FBC on October 15, 2018 when you adamantly asserted he and Lindblad had “no knowledge of facts of abuse at all.”  That was entirely untrue.

I also refer to Walt traveling from Pennsylvania to Louisiana after the investigation was completed in 2000 to fill Fred in on what transpired.  You know all about this visit from Jon Moyers.  Here is what Jon wrote me.

“On September 5, 2017 Fred Malone on a Wednesday night sat with me on the front pew of First Baptist Church Clinton, Louisiana.  We were discussing the three-man investigation team.  He told me that after the investigation in 2000, Walt Chantry came to Louisiana to talk to Fred about what had transpired. … Fred said that he was in contact with Don Lindblad who was Tom’s advocate during the investigation.”

As we know, Lindblad was first told about the allegations of child abuse on November 14, 2000 when he, Earl Blackburn, Steve Martin and Bob Selph met with  the MVBC elders, Rich Howe and Eric “Shorty” Owens.  We also know Lindblad was given the letters from the parents and a victim documenting the abuse.  He was also given the November 21, 2000 letter from the elders to Walt Chantry stating Tom was guilty of child abuse for which he was criminally liable.

Furthermore, Lindblad was given the two sealed reports from the Informal Council.  We also know he gave all this information to Earl Blackburn and others.  This has been conclusively proven in the letters I sourced between Lindblad and Blackburn.  Yet, all these men lied, including Fred, claiming they did not know about the allegations of abuse or have any evidence of abuse in their possession.

Here again is the disinformation you have advanced.

“Fred (Malone) and this other man (Don Lindblad) then speculated (between the two of them) that maybe Tom Chantry had spanked a child too hard or something like that, however, they had no knowledge of that speculation.  It was a mere speculation with no knowledge of facts of abuse at all.  That is both Fred and this man’s testimony to this day.  Also, another individual who was involved at the time has said that because of the way the proceedings took place, Fred couldn’t have had knowledge of the process or the findings of the council.  He said Fred couldn’t have known anything.”

You also refer to “another individual who was involved at the time” who said “Fred couldn’t have had known anything.”  I think you are referring to Earl Blackburn.  He was Chairman of the Administrative Council in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.  He made this claim of ignorance in reference to himself when writing the Miller Valley elders on February 13, 2002 and ever since.  It was an outrageous lie but one he created to cover his tracks.  He had all the evidence.  It was given to him by Lindblad.  It was the same lie used by other officials in ARBCA to deny knowledge of Chantry’s crimes.  I exposed this tactic in my Part 4 article.

Tom, I have read all your correspondence with Jon Moyers.  You have been wrong about a great many things.  I trust you realize it now based upon a reading of the evidence.  Your errors need to be corrected.  You need to address the church and those beyond the church you have misled.

Fred clearly lied to you, and everyone else in First Baptist Church Clinton, just like Don Lindblad lied to all of ARBCA.  Fred needs to be brought before the church and reproved.  Are you going to address his deceptive behavior or will you treat him with favoritism?  There is no question he knew about the allegations of abuse and was part of the long term coverup.  He is not a man above reproach.  Therefore, he should be removed as a pastor, a professor at IRBS, and from the Founders Ministry.

Furthermore, you should invite Anthony and Candy, along with Jon and Amanda, to a special meeting of FBC where you can ask their forgiveness and thank them for their heroic efforts.




Submit Comment

newest oldest
Notify of
Former ARBCA member

At least some of these churches are leaving ARBCA merely to get away from the brand, not because of any principled objection to ARBCA. In some cases they remain close friends with ARBCA.

The question isn’t have they left, but what have they publicly said about why they left. If they can’t bring themselves to publicly condemn what has happened, it may be telling about how little their leaving ARBCA really means.


ARBCA’s dwindled to 44 now, minus Grace Baptist Church, Jackson, Mississippi?

Anthony Battaglia

Tom Hicks of FBC Clinton, La. in a 2017 meeting after their initial investigation into the Chantry ARBCA scandal said they found “no wrongdoing”:

Hicks said, “There’s one more question that needs to be answered and that is whether First Baptist should remain a member of ARBCA given what we know. In all of our interviews with those in ARBCA and even with those who are now outside of ARBCA, who left ARBCA, now opposed to ARBCA, we have found consistent testimonies. We have not found any reason to doubt their explanations of what happened. Therefore, the elders of First Baptist believe it would be inappropriate and hasty to pull the church out of ARBCA. If we find any evidence of any wrongdoing in the future, we will act to confront it and deal with it.”

In their Current statement on their website they say they did “discover wrongdoing and possible crimes”:

“First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA is no longer a member of ARBCA. We chose to remain in the association, even though our initial investigation in 2017 discovered wrongdoing (and possible crimes),…”

Thanks, in my experience it’s also not unusual for preachers to consider interviews with other preachers to be the reasonable extent of a credible investigation.

ARBCA dude: “Hi Pastor Bob, I have some kids here saying that you molested them. Is that true?”

Pastor Bob, “Of course not, I am a Godly man!”

ARBCA dude: “Thanks for confirming that! I’ll tell these pesky pretend child abuse victims to get lost. I’m sure you’d do the same for me.”

“And by the way, this is an informal investigation. That’ll get us both out of lawsuits. Heh,heh.”

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Anthony Battaglia

Hicks and Malone are just politicians – hypocrites. Their resignation comes as a “jailhouse conversion” in the words of a member of FBC Clinton, but it is completely lacking acknowledgment of sin or any repentance.

Consider this statement by Tom Hicks from a 2017 special “off the record meeting” with the congregation at FBC Clinton: Hicks said, “Back in 2000, Tom Chantry and his church, Miller Valley Baptist Church, had a dispute that needed to be resolved. Miller Valley Baptist Church requested a council for assistance. A 3-man informal council was formed independently of ARBCA’s Administrative Council. This was an informal council. That means ARBCA’s Administrative Council had no formal authority over it. The Informal Council itself had no authority over Miller Valley Baptist Church, or over ARBCA. The Informal Council’s role was only to listen to what happened in the dispute and then make recommendations. That was it. And all of this is consistent with Baptist polity.”

And then look at reasons 4 and 5 here:

So either Hicks, Malone and Axsom have changed their view on Baptist polity or they are patronizing liars, hypocrites or dare I say “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

Thanks for the comment.

I agree that just calling an investigation informal probably doesn’t make it so.

I wonder who paid the expenses of this investigation that is now supposedly affiliated with no one and nothing.

Could ARBCA have “informally” illegally used non profit funds to pay this tribunal of thugs, who likely broke the law by not formally reporting credible allegations of child abuse, to do an “informal” cover up of heinous crimes?

Could any entity but ARBCA have benefited from the actions of this “informal investigation?”

I don’t know much about Baptist polity, yet am surprised it bears so much resemblance to the mafia’s polity.

The mafia also “informally” investigates disputes. They’re even known to “informally” to resolve issues by killing parties to the dispute.

There are no wolves or sheep here, in my opinion. Just little boys who have been caught doing something really, really bad.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

I’ll add that power wielded informally is still power.

The same can be said for corruption.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Douglas Belardi

Will they be a part of rebranded ARBCA ?


Fred Malone’s worked with Tom Chantry in the Founders organization too!

1998 (pp. 24-25)

[Southern Baptist Founders Conference Southwest, September 22-24 at Heritage Baptist Church, Mansfield, Texas. Planning Committee members: Pastors Tom Chantry, Dr. Fred Malone, and Bob Selph]

1999 (p. 24)

“The Southern Baptist Founders Conference Southwest is planned for September 30-October 2, 1999 at Heritage Baptist Church, just outside of Ft. Worth, Texas. The theme is ‘Our Triune Lord’ and speakers include Pastors Tom Chantry, Bob Selph, Fred Malone, Tom Ascol and Professor Tom Nettles”


Tom Chantry with Fred Malone at the Sept. 2000 Founders event just before things blew up?

Southern Baptist Founders Conference Southwest
“Reforming the Local Church”
Heritage Baptist Church, Mansfield, Texas
September 28-30, 2000

Dr. Tom Ascol, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL
Rev. Bill Ascol, Pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, Shreveport, LA
Dr. Fred Malone, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA
Rev. Tom Chantry, Pastor of Miller Valley Baptist Church, Prescott, AZ
Rev. Bob Selph, National Coordinator Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America

Thanks for the information.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)


Hmmmm….Freddie the fibber. Right before the elders tried to deceitfully remove the already resigned Battaglia family, Fred came to our house to talk to us about the chantry/fbcc debacle and to I guess keep us in line and not speak against the elders. His own words were that he had never met Tom Chantry. Kind of interesting being that Walt is/was Fred’s mentor. Did we believe him? NO.

Former member

Is there still a third trial coming? Will ARBCA face charges or civil suits?


FBC Clinton’s reasons are certainly compelling and direct. I still wish though we knew why Sam Renihan’s church left. I imagine they are related reasons, but would like to hear it from the horse’s mouth, as it were.

Left Long Ago

Nice this congregation got to vote, if that’s true. Some don’t. Some are just told they are leaving due to doctrinal differences. There’s a big difference between doctrine and crime. Some can’t think of anything but doctrine.


I doubt the congregation actually voted. Having been a member there, some things are just insinuated as to how it will be and the congregation follows what they are told.