Sunday, July 6, 2008

The End of the Trinity Fest Part 3: “calling the evangelical church out of her exile”

In our previous installment we considered some of the controversy that preceded the first annual Trinity Fest by comparing the image of Christ Church, Moscow, that Pastor Douglas Wilson projected for others to see with the actual state of his church that he desperately didn’t want anyone to see, i.e. his inner fantasy of him leading an almighty kirk as opposed to the external reality that a serial pedophile had just ravaged the little ones of his congregation who were under his (Wilson’s) care. Indeed, his inner fantasy militated so strongly against external reality that he never bothered to warn the parents of his congregation that predation may have occurred. Rather, he blustered, “We are formidable,” as he bragged that the infants of his congregation hit the hard stuff during the Lord’s Supper, calling this use of the Table “potent.”

And each day during the first annual Trinity Fest he used Blog and Mablog to give a blow-by-blow account of the festivities, as part of his self-promotion package. He pushed hard to impose his inner fantasy on the world, despite reality, and he really wanted people to believe that Christ Church, Moscow, was leading the reform of Christian culture at the community level. He wanted his followers to believe, with him, that the world dreaded his awe-inspiring kirk because they were the cutting edge of Christian culture. He certainly would not have anyone know that they were the essence of a disintegrating culture, at least by his own written standards. After all, he was the brilliant light who just a few years earlier wrote this Caiaphas-like prophecy for all the world to read:

Violent rape is a judgment of God upon a people. . . This does not justify the perpetrators; it is simply the recognition that when disaster befalls a city, sexual disaster for the women is part of this. This does not mean that a woman who is raped should assume any personal responsibility for it; she is innocent. . . Violent rape is God’s judgment on a culture, and individual women who are part of that culture are included in the judgment. But this does not mean that they as individuals “deserved” it. . . . We see the same judgment at work in disintegrating cultures: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11). Here the rape is not being perpetrated by foreign soldiers, but is the result of citizens turning on one another. Every culture is a gathering of sinners, and so rape is always a possibility. But when God’s hand of judgment is heavy upon a people, women are in far greater danger of sexual assault than at other times. (Douglas Wilson, Fidelity: What It Means To Be a One-Woman Man [Moscow: Canon Press, 1999] 82, 83)

I don’t think it’s possible for a worse visitation to strike a church than a serial pedophile raping its most defenseless members, and I don’t think it’s possible for a so-called pastor to demonstrate nonfeasance any better than Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, who hid this awful fact from the world so that he could pretend his formidable worship assembly was hosting a Trinitarian carnival. To be sure, his dereliction crossed the line from nonfeasance to malfeasance. By his standard God’s hand of judgment was heavy on the Kirk — two citizens of their own had turned on their babies, infants, and children, to rape them. These crimes took place for over two years, as the Fearless Leader led his formidable army from scandal to scandal — imprecatory prayers, Southern Slavery, property-tax conflicts, zoning wars, verbal threats against the Latah County Commissioners, etc., not to mention the national scandal in the Reformed church known as the Federal Vision. I’m sure that when he learned about Steven Sitler’s predations he justified it in his mind as some sort of inconsequential collateral damage. After all, everybody knows that serial pedophiles regularly wreak havoc on “formidable” churches. It’s part of St. Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 12. So on August 11, 2005, the last day of the first annual Trinity Fest, he finished his summary of the day’s events by writing,

Glitches here and there, but over all, we were extremely grateful to God for the success of the first annual Trinity Fest. (“Trinity Fest 2005, Day Five”; emphasis original)

Yes, he was “extremely grateful to God for the success of the first annual Trinity Fest.” But exactly eight days later, or Trinity Fest 2005, Day Thirteen, he had to leave his inner fantasy for a few moments to deal with reality so that he could express his gratitude for something else. Steven Sitler was still at his parent’s home in Colville, WA, waiting for Judge Stegner to sentence him for his crimes, and someone (we don’t know who) compelled the Fearless Leader to write a letter to the judge on behalf of the serial pedophile. He closed it with similar expressions of gratitude:

I am grateful Steven was caught, and am grateful he has been brought to account for these actions so early in his life. I am grateful that he will be sentenced for his behavior, and that there will be hard consequences for him in real time. At the same time, I would urge that the civil penalties applied would be measured and limited. I have a good hope that Steven has genuinely repented, and that he will continue to deal with this to become a productive and contributing member of society. (August 19, 2005)

Of course, he wrote and sent this letter in secret, without his flock’s knowledge or consent (I seriously doubt the Kult elders even knew about it). But God is not mocked because according to the Fearless Leader’s standards “Violent rape is God’s judgment on a culture,” despite Wilson’s gratitude for Sitler’s capture. And just because Wilson concealed, denied, and suppressed the truth about his disintegrating culture didn’t mean it wasn’t putrid — rotten to the core — it just meant that Wilson was ripe for another judgment. We know this because on August 17, 2005, two days before Wilson wrote his secret letter to Judge Stegner, a Latah County magistrate issued an arrest warrant for Jamin Wight. If you’re keeping track (and I know that swimming through this filth gets complicated), that’s Trinity Fest 2005, Day Eleven. The accusation against Wight stated:

SEXUAL ABUSE OF A CHILD, Idaho Code 18-1506 and LEWD CONDUCT WITH A MINOR UNDER SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE, Idaho Code 18-1508, Idaho Code 18-6608, Felonies in THREE (3) COUNTS, have been committed. . . (Arrest Warrant for Jamin Wight, August 17, 2005)

We have no idea exactly when Wilson learned about Wight’s arrest, but we do know it was before September 1, 2005, which is the date that Pastor Wilson wrote a letter to the victim’s father threatening him with discipline. I suppose that would be Trinity Fest 2005, Day Twenty-Six. Regardless, the same lightning bolt struck the Fearless Leader twice in less than five months, and you would think that the discovery of two child molesters in less than five months would weigh heavily on a pastor. To be sure, you would think this would be sufficient cause of action for a man to examine himself, his ministry, and his calling. You know, some of that “morbid introspection” the Fearless Leader despises so much. After all, these rapes took place under his nose. In fact, they took place at the exact same time that he crossed hill and dale to obtain an apology for imaginary offenses that he believed the University of Idaho committed against him. Personally, I believe that if a man has time to demand an apology, he has time to guard the flock. Or something like that.

This brings us to one of Beelzeblog’s entries announcing the second annual Trinity Fest (2006). As you read this, please remember that by this time Wilson knew about both of his sex offenders. I republish it in entirety:

Extended Deadline
Topic:
Shameless Appeals
The last time I did this, a discussion broke out over whether we ought to cancel Trinity Fest. With this shameless appeal, because I am running that risk yet again, let me begin by showing the consistency between repentance of sin and rejoicing before the Lord. The reason for Trinity Fest in the first place has not been to have just a [sic] another random party, but to do so in the context of calling the evangelical church out of her exile. Repentance and joy are not mutually exclusive, but rather go together like ham and eggs. But of course I am not talking about the grim joy of the pietist, or the macabre repentance of the self-absorbed. I am talking about the joy of those who have realized that individualistic autonomy is a death trap, the joy of those who have been brought out of darkness into the perfect law of liberty. The emphasis that follows is mine.

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them (Neh. 8:9–12).

That said, we never for a second intended to cancel anything. But for various reasons, we have decided to extend the early registration deadline by one week to Friday, June 23rd. But also, because everything we do is in a highly charged, politicized atmosphere, we know that to do something as simple as this will cause some bad guys to chortle and say, “Aha! They are struggling. Registrations must be down. Look at them! Extending deadlines!” But actually, registrations are rocking right along, and we are on track to be a bigger and better celebration than last year. And so if you want to join us at the early registration prices, you have an additional week to do so. Just working with you all is all.

Posted by Douglas Wilson — 6/16/2006 12:46:36 PM | Link to this post

Before we consider the self-proclaimed “prophetic” aspect of this post, let me note the obvious in the interest of a good chortle: Instead of simply extending the deadline for whatever reason (and he had no obligation to give a reason), he had to wax defensive about the extension and stick it in his “enemies’” faces:

The last time I did this, a discussion broke out over whether we ought to cancel Trinity Fest. With this shameless appeal, because I am running that risk yet again. . . . That said, we never for a second intended to cancel anything. But for various reasons, we have decided to extend the early registration deadline by one week to Friday, June 23rd. But also, because everything we do is in a highly charged, politicized atmosphere, we know that to do something as simple as this will cause some bad guys to chortle and say, “Aha! They are struggling. Registrations must be down. Look at them! Extending deadlines!” But actually, registrations are rocking right along, and we are on track to be a bigger and better celebration than last year. And so if you want to join us at the early registration prices, you have an additional week to do so. Just working with you all is all.

As he indicates, he wrote this part of the post with an eye on his so-called “enemies” (that would be the “bad guys”) in Moscow who thought as much about the Trinity Fest as they did the History Conference. He calls them “intoleristas” (I don’t remember if it’s a proper noun). He knew locals followed his blog for these types of announcements because Blog and Mablog was his familiar medium to communicate with his disciples, and so he had to downplay the obvious meaning of the extension. He had to huff and puff. He had to act as though the situation wasn’t what it appeared, i.e. the Trinity Fest was not the rip-roaring success that he expected. This is a critical point because one of his stated goals for the Trinity Fest was for it to be so big that people would like him even less. I realize that’s not a particularly ambitious objective and most Christians would find it difficult to reconcile with the evangel, but that’s how he advertised it (we shall consider this remarkable aim in an upcoming post). He hoped his carnival would canvass so much of the city that its very presence would offend everyone who didn’t share his imperious vision of taking over Moscow, or roughly 96% of the population.

Consequently, when registrations for the Trinity Fest didn’t add up as he expected, he had to stick his chest out and pretend otherwise. And “pretend” is the operative term because according to “Trinity Fest 2005, Day Three,” they served “about 850” souls for St. Brigid’s Feast, whereas in 2006 (the year of the post in question), “Trinity Fest Day One/Pictures” states that they served 760 at St. Brigid’s Feast. By my count, they were down pert near 100 people or roughly 9%. That’s worth a harrumph and chortle in my book because, “Aha! They WERE struggling and registrations WERE down!” They were not “rocking right along” and they were not “on track to be a bigger and better celebration than last year.” And once again we see his inner fantasy resisting against external reality. He could not distinguish between them. Self-deception became public deception. Harrumph, chortle, and roll on the floor laughing. Two years later the annual Trinity Fest went the way of all flesh. They canceled it.

Please notice, however, as I stop to chortle once more, that he’s the one who put such a high premium on head count. I could care less. In fact, I’m just evangelical enough to believe that where two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, He is there in the midst. But, nooooooo, they had to have a million-man march. They had to make a pronounced statement of their greatness, their formidability, and their dominance. And their church of 900 souls (that’s the number he publishes) couldn’t even break a thousand for its annual celebration, which is worth a least one more chortle.

Now to point: The blog post under consideration (“Extended Deadline”) explained the reason for the Trinity Fest:

Let me begin by showing the consistency between repentance of sin and rejoicing before the Lord. The reason for Trinity Fest in the first place has not been to have just a [sic] another random party, but to do so in the context of calling the evangelical church out of her exile. Repentance and joy are not mutually exclusive, but rather go together like ham and eggs. But of course I am not talking about the grim joy of the pietist, or the macabre repentance of the self-absorbed. I am talking about the joy of those who have realized that individualistic autonomy is a death trap, the joy of those who have been brought out of darkness into the perfect law of liberty.

Let me remind you of the context of this post in case you forgot it with all the chortling. God sent two child molesters to Christ Church, Moscow, as judgment for their sins — to accelerate the disintegration of their culture, at least according to Wilson’s written standards, yet this dark fact notwithstanding he donned the prophet’s mantle to “call the evangelical church out of her exile.” He couldn’t even shepherd a church through two child molesters, let alone warn his congregation, but he thought he could call the Church to repentance, and by an act of self-willed individualistic autonomy he declared the evangelical church in “exile.” I would chortle if it wasn’t so nuts. And please don’t miss this: He then called the evangelical church to come to Moscow (read him) in order to repent. This is not ham and eggs, it’s ham and crazy. He thinks he’s the prophet Daniel when he’s actually Belshazzar defiling the holy things of God and just like Belshazzar he cannot read the writing on the wall, though unlike the Chaldaean king he wrote the writing with his own fingers. Again, he cannot distinguish between his inner fantasy and real life.

Finally, we have one more consideration, which closes the deal. In his book Fidelity Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, cited Ecclesiastes 8:11 as his proof text to establish the principle of “disintegrating cultures”: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Elsewhere in Fidelity he affirmed the death penalty for pedophiles and rapists. But when he had a chance to stand by his written standards, he caved. And this is not about the appropriate punishment for these offenders; it’s about the Fearless Leader’s hypocrisy. Neither Steven Sitler nor Jamin Wight received the punishment due their evil works, at least according to Wilson’s theonomic standards. Both men skated due in large part to his advocacy. He pled for leniency on behalf of both before he ever warned his congregation of the danger they posed. In one instance he even threatened the victim’s father with punishment. In other words, sentence against their evil work was not executed speedily and when compared to death it wasn’t executed at all. And that’s because Wilson’s heart was fully set in him to do evil.



Thank you.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark

I thought that the Church WAS in exile until Christ returns. We are citizens of heaven, and we await a Savior from there.

Thanks for your 'blog.

Sam

Mark T. said...

Hi Sam,

The way you framed the subject it’s a question of eschatology. But since Wilson holds to a virulent form of postmillennialism, it’s not a question of eschatology so much as when his virus rules the day, and he’s doing everything in his might to insure it happens in his lifetime while he’s in command. Everything else is “Gnostic.”

As long as we’re on it, I really believe he cannot distinguish between the reign of Christ over the nations and his self-perceived reign over the churches. For him, it’s just a matter of extending his authority from the ecclesiastical to civil, which he could pull off if everyone else went along.

But, yes, our citizenship is in heaven and whether you’re pre-, post-, or a, your system is nothing if it has not prepared you to meet your God and worship Him for ever and ever.

cib said...

Mark,

We have no idea exactly when Wilson learned about Wight’s arrest, but we do know it was before September 1, 2005, which is the date that Pastor Wilson wrote a letter to the victim’s father threatening him with discipline.

Do you have this letter, too?

Mark T. said...

Affirmative, but I will not publish it until other matters get resolved. There are not words sufficient in the human tongue to describe the level of Wilson’s wickedness.

cib said...

Mark,

I should never doubt your fully documented anonymous attack blog!

Mark T. said...

You are correct, but yer still killing me!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark T.

I had a couple of questions for you.

1. Was the Trinity Festival a "party" of some sorte. I was under the impression that Trinity Fest. was something akin to a seminar. Something geared towards learning and not feasting.

2. I'm alittle confused on the Steven Sitler time line. Did he molest children in WA the come to Moscow or was it the other way around? Is there any indication that he may have molested children in VA and if so did Sproul Jr know about it?

Thanks
Jonathan

Mark T. said...

Hi Jonathan,

1. Was the Trinity Festival a “party” of some sort?

Yes, the Trinity Fest was by definition a festival, or a carnival. It was a big-time wannabe cultural event where they held plays, concerts, eat outs, and lots of in-your-face downtown nonsense and noisemaking. In between these activities they held their history talks.

2. I’m a little confused on the Steven Sitler time line. Did he molest children in WA the come to Moscow or was it the other way around? Is there any indication that he may have molested children in VA and if so did Sproul Jr know about it?

Sitler grew up in the state of Washington where his pedophilia emerged and where he preyed on multiple children from his early teenage years. We know this because in one of the court documents his attorney referred to “the volume of offenses over the years.” In 2003 Sitler left Washington and spent the summer molesting children in Virginia, when he visited Sproul’s operation. At that time no one knew about his pedophilia. In August 2003 he moved to Moscow and lived with a family as part of NSA’s illegal boarding operation (although, technically, this home was outside city limits and not subject to the Zoning Code, so he was not living illegally, as is the case with most of NSA’s student body). He lived in that home and preyed on those children, as well as others, undetected for 18 months. In March 2005 he was caught. No court document says how he was caught, though several witnesses say it was in the act. Not long afterwards he shot home back to Colville, WA, and was never arrested (I know, weird beyond measure). We don’t know when he began spilling his beans, but we know that Wilson asserted himself as Sitler’s primary confessor and ALL of the information went though him.

That’s the timeline in survey form. In short, however, to answer your question, yes, Steven Sitler molested children in Virginia and no one in Virginia learned about it until Wilson made the phone call.

The most damning point here, however, is that in his letter to Judge Stegner, Wilson talks about coordinating with Sitler’s home church how best to help him. But in all his coordination, he concealed the Virginia crime spree from the Colville church. That’s one more reason I believe there’s money involved. Wilson withheld extremely damaging information from persons who were supposed to be in the loop, and I’m sure it was not for free.

Hope that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Wow....this has all the ear marks of a Dateline special.

"Wilson withheld extremely damaging information from persons who were supposed to be in the loop, and I’m sure it was not for free."

That's a pretty serious accusation. I know better to question your fully documented anonymous attack blog but if true couldn't Wilson face criminal charges? And shouldn't he?

Jonathan

Mark T. said...

Hi Jonathan,

I apologize for not being clearer. Let me restate it to remove wrong impressions:

After Sitler was caught, he scurried home to Colville, WA, which was three hours away where an OPC church plant held his membership. But even though Sitler was three hours away in Colville, Wilson arrogated lead-dog position as it applied to pastoral counseling for Sitler. Hence, he wrote to Judge Stegner:

“I have worked with the pastor of his home church as well, as we have coordinated how best to help Steven. . . . since this situation [serial pedophilia] has come out Steven has come down to see me about half a dozen times. Not only have I provided counsel for him. . . In all this, Steven has been most responsive, and has been completely honest with me. . . .”

We know from other sources that Wilson had agreed to keep the pastors in Colville apprised of developments vis-à-vis Sitler, which included any confessions he might make regarding other victims. Sitler confessed to Wilson crimes he committed in Virginia and this information made it to the Latah County Prosecutor, but it never made it to Colville, and when the local authorities contacted the victims’ families in Virginia, no one ever returned their calls. DEATHLY SILENCE.

At the same time, Wilson never informed the OPC pastors in Colville of Sitler’s predations in Virginia — DEATHLY SILENCE — which raises the obvious question, why would Wilson withhold this critical information from the pastors of Sitler’s home church? Of course, there is any number of answers to this question. For example, Wilson could have forgot. But then that does not account for him notifying the Latah County Prosecutor. Or he could have thought it not important enough to share with Colville. But then that doesn’t account for him notifying the Latah County Prosecutor. Or you could think of a reason why Wilson would withhold this information from Colville.

But when you’re dealing with the Wilson, the judgment of charity requires you to think of the very worst scenario possible and run with it. This is charitable because you’ll discover that despite your best efforts, things will probably be much worse than you ever conceived. The man is a psychopath who operates on completely different plane than normal people.

This brings us to another factor in the sordid equation. Sitler’s parents are extremely wealthy — just wealthy enough to be able to afford one of the finest and most powerful criminal attorneys in the state. PLEASE NOTE: I have no evidence to support the following theory, except that we know Wilson is an evil selfish greedy beast, and he oversaw a Herculean cover-up for no apparent reason.

Sitler’s parents were extremely embarrassed by their son’s crimes and had a personal interest in seeing this matter not get bigger. Additionally, the victims’ families in Virginia shared Sitler’s parent’s interest but for other reasons. At this point the opportunist in Wilson could easily take over by brokering a win/win deal for the two interests, because you have to remember that he had an interest as well — he didn’t want this scandal at all and he had no interest in seeing it grow larger. Therefore I could easily envision a scenario where that went thus: “We all agree to keep this a secret to protect our interests. We will inform the authorities here so that we don’t violate any laws and when they make the phone call to Virginia, you guys don’t answer the phone. But mom and dad must agree to fork over some dough for this perk.”

And as long as we’re on it, I believe that Wilson cut a deal with mom and dad to advocate to the judge on behalf of their sick son. How else could you explain his gushing letter? No one in their right mind would ever clear a serial pedophile after six visits in a couple of months, unless of course they have other interests. And he did the whole thing in secret. These facts alone force me to conclude that he is either the most incompetent boob to walk the planet or he is filthy rotten corrupt to the bone. There are no mitigating circumstances here. We’re talking about a serial pedophile with victims in three states — crimes that he committed over a several-year period — and Wilson concealed the whole thing.

I understand that my theory sounds nuts, but it’s not any more nuts than what actually happened and it may account for some of the downright bizarre actions of Wilson. But I want to stress that no evidence exists to support this theory other than the way the whole deal went down. I have simply filled in some blanks in a manner that is consistent with the facts of the case and with Wilson’s depravity. I believe that money changed hands from the principal players in order to secure greater secrecy.

All of that said, I suppose that there is another logical explanation. It’s possible Wilson really believed that concealing critical information about a serial pedophile from Colville and from his congregation was the most prudent course of action to take and that the victims’ families in Virginia believed that not prosecuting Sitler for his crimes was the most responsible course for them as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mark T.

I guess I just don't get the cover-up. These men claim to be something that smells like a theonimist but in the end forgo justice for the sake of saving face. It seems to me that their prestige would grow if they sought justice and restoration of the criminal not silence.

Jonathan

Mark T. said...

Indeed, that’s why I say, “Follow the money.” This thing stinks for a reason.

Sean Gerety said...

"Pastor Wilson wrote a letter **to the victim’s father** threatening him with discipline"?

Huh?

Mark T. said...

Hi Sean,

Yes, you read it correctly. Sick stuff, I know. But you can confirm this fact in an interview that the father gave to the Intelligence Report. Christ Church, Moscow, rewards the wicked and disciplines the righteous. There is a reason why I call it a non-Christian cult. These people are genuinely evil.

Sean Gerety said...

The father of the girl in the second incident told the Intelligence Report that church officials tried to keep that quiet as well. At one point, he said, they threatened to bring him under church discipline for failing to protect his daughter. "It would be like me getting robbed and the police coming over and arresting me because I didn't have five locks on the door, only one," he said. "It was just bizarre."

I'll say it's bizarre. I hope this father, whoever he is, has left Doug's "church."

Mark T. said...

He has.