It Takes A Village To Deceive A Family

“Making the Bragg family wait like that to get the attention of the pastoral staff — especially the senior pastor — is unconscionable. If you’re too busy to meet for months with a family whose daughter says she was molested by a member of your staff, then brother, you are too…busy building your megachurch empire, and you need to think about why you went into the ministry in the first place.”

(Rod Dreher – The American Conservative)  I mentioned earlier that the Southern Baptist Convention is going to take up the problem of sexual abuse in the denomination at its meeting this week….

Elizabeth Dias of The New York Times has an infuriating story about how one Baptist megachurch in suburban Dallas handled — and failed to handle — a case of alleged abuse by a youth pastor. The church is The Village Church, in Flower Mound. Excerpts:

Christi Bragg listened in disbelief. It was a Sunday in February, and her popular evangelical pastor, Matt Chandler, was preaching on the evil of leaders who sexually abuse those they are called to protect. But at the Village Church, he assured his listeners, victims of assault would be heard, and healed: “We see you.”

Ms. Bragg nearly vomited. She stood up and walked out.

Exactly one year before that day, on Feb. 17, 2018, Ms. Bragg and her husband, Matt, reported to the Village that their daughter, at about age 11, had been sexually abused at the church’s summer camp for children.

Since then, Matthew Tonne, who was the church’s associate children’s minister, had been investigated by the police, indicted and arrested on charges of sexually molesting Ms. Bragg’s daughter.

Ms. Bragg waited for church leaders to explain what had happened and to thoroughly inform other families in the congregation. She waited for the Village to take responsibility and apologize. She waited to have even one conversation with Mr. Chandler, a leader she had long admired.

But none of that ever came.

“You can’t even take care of the family you know,” she remembered thinking as she walked out of the large auditorium. “Don’t tell more victims to come to you, because you’re just going to cause more hurt.”    View article →


Matt Chandler