The Robertson Boys and the Church of Christ

 


The men pictured above have been, shall we say, an oozing pustule on the ass of Martinsville (my former stomping ground) and Henry County Virginia (and surrounding counties) for about as long as I can recall.  I recall that once (and only once) I called into their weekly cable access religious TV Smack-Down back in the very early 2000's, so I know that they have been active since at least that far back.

The main thrust of their arguments / accusations seem to be directed at every other congregation that is not a Church of Christ congregation (and even some Church of Christ congregations).  Their tactics include going to these churches, video camera or phone in hand, approaching the minister after the service and then recording their interaction in an attempt to get the minister to say something incriminating - incriminating biblically or politically - and then spending hours and hours on their cable access TV show / YouTube channel, verbally assaulting the unfortunate minister(s).  And you don't dare call into their show to voice disagreement, because if you do, you risk being identified by caller ID and have your name (and phone #) used as a backdrop.  There have been a few volunteers who decided to take a bullet for the rest of us and debate one of these social miscreants on live TV, only to realize within a few minutes what a mistake they had made, and walked out dragging their dignity on the ground behind them.  Much of their programming is saved for posterity on their Youtube Channel - so if you have never subjected yourself to their antics, and have a morbid curiosity, have a look.  And note - there are numerous Church of Christ ministers in different locals who employ the same or very similar tactics as the Robertson boys.

Just in case you are not familiar with the beliefs of the C of C, here are a few strongly held ones that seem to get a lot of attention:

1 - They claim (loudly) that they are NOT a "denomination", but are instead, the only True Christian church that can directly trace their beliefs back to the original New Testament church.

2 - They believe that water baptism (by immersion) is a necessary step in the "salvation" process, along with belief, confession, and repentance.  If you are not water baptized (by immersion), you will not go to heaven.  If you are water baptized, but in the wrong "denomination", you will not go to heaven.

3 - They do not use any "mechanical instruments of music" during their worship service - those were "not authorized" by Jesus, therefor, they sing "a cappella".  Using instruments is a sin.

My purpose here is not to express my disagreement with their beliefs nor their tactics.  Full disclosure, I am an atheist (former bible believer), so obviously I don't agree with their beliefs and I don't agree with their tactics either - because - they are mean, embarrassing, and as I am sure The Robertson Boys would agree (if they were honest, which they are not), their tactics DON'T WORK!  And if they haven't worked in the past 20 years, they are not going to work in the next 20 years - yet - they keep plugging along, alienating themselves further from every other church in the area.

But honestly, I don't really care.  From my perspective, Christians arguing with Christians is the gift that keeps on giving.  It's just another example of why I am so glad I got out of Christianity when I did.

If all the Christians who have accused other Christians of not being “true Christians”, were to vanish – there would not be any Christians left.
~ anonymous

So, what is my purpose in this post?  Well, I guess just to point out that, in spite of the righteous claims of The Robertson Boys, and their accusations against all the other "denominations", especially the Catholics, Baptists, and Pentecostals, the Church of Christ, even though they claim to be the only true followers of Jesus, and claim to be the only church actually following the bible, they are just as susceptible to "SIN" in their congregations and leadership as any other "denomination".  So, lets take a brief look at the activities of some Church of Christ ministers / congregants around the US:

June 22, 2021
Camden TN - An Evansville, IN youth minister has been arrested on sexual battery and rape charges in Tennessee. Officials say 32-year-old Joshua Burton Henley has been arrested on one count of aggravated sexual battery and three counts of statutory rape by an authority figure. Henley is employed as a youth minister at Washington Avenue Church of Christ in Evansville.
According to authorities, the case involves multiple victims ranging in age from 12 to 16 years of age and, so far, jurisdiction involves three states.
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June 7, 2021
Lakeland FL - The Sheriff’s Office arrested 29-year-old Andrew Pierce Weaver of Lakeland, the youth pastor of Highlands Church of Christ, for attempting to have sex with a 17-year-old girl in his youth group.
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Jul. 24, 2019
Sarasota FL - Charles Andrews in Englewood, 66-year-old minister of Osprey Church of Christ, has been arrested by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office on 500 counts of possession of child pornography.
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Jul 19, 2013
Birmingham, AL - The Columbiana Church of Christ in Shelby County has dismissed its minister, Paul Jeremy Martin, following his arrest in Birmingham on heroin-related charges.
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Feb 16, 2018
The Rev. Brian Sean Dicken, accused of taking indecent liberties with an underage girl he was counseling while formally employed at Church of Christ at Mountain View, turned himself in to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. He is now lead minister at a church in New Bern, N.C. The accusations involve a girl younger than 18 and allegedly occurred Dec. 1, 2014, and Feb. 17, 2015, according to court records.
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Mar. 26, 2015
Altus, OK - A church in Altus is reeling following the news that their former pastor has been charged with sexually abusing a young girl over a period of seven years.
Tommy Lynn Bailey was arrested Tuesday at his home, and is now free on bond. Bailey was the pastor of Elm and Hudson Church of Christ for 14 years.
The victim said the abuse began in 2007 when she was just 14 years old, and Bailey began touching her inappropriately and kissing her. At 15, he started to have sexual intercourse with her, four to five times a week. She said the sexual contact continued until September of 2014.
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Aug. 8, 2020
Pocahontas, AR – A Pocahontas minister was one of several arrested Saturday by the sheriff’s department in an alleged meth dealing scheme. Jonathan Fears, 50, of Pocahontas, was arrested by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms. 
Jonathan Fears serves as minister for Skaggs Church of Christ.
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Apr. 2, 2019
Stephenville, TX - A former local youth pastor at Graham Street Church of Christ is heading to prison for potentially 40 years after pleading guilty Monday to seven counts of promotion of child pornography, all second degree felonies.
Timothy Travis Simon, 34, was sentenced to the maximum punishment by District Court Judge Jason Cashon.


Apr. 15, 2016
Moore, OK - A former youth minister is behind bars Friday, accused of sending pornographic pictures and videos to several teens at his church.
Casey Haynes is no longer employed as the youth minster at the Central Church of Christ. Court records say he was fired last month after giving a written confession.
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Mar. 15, 2020
Volusia FL - A minister at the Deltona Church of Christ has been fired and arrested after he allegedly took an up-skirt photo of a parishioner while she was helping put his child in the car. 31-year-old Brian 'Rick' Kenyon Jr. was arrested on July 12 after a federal charge of video voyeurism was filed against him.
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Jul. 24, 2006
Athens, OH - A Hocking County jury convicted the Athens Church of Christ pastor of committing public indecency in a state park lavatory on May 15.
57-year-old H. Willard Love, senior minister of the Athens Church of Christ was arrested after he allegedly masturbated in front of an undercover park ranger in the restroom at the spillway of Lake Logan State Park.
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Mar. 13, 2013
Siloam Springs AR - Hank Guilliams, 42, of Rayville, La. was being held on $35,000 bond in the Benton County Jail after his arrest on four counts of sexual assault in the second degree, a Class B felony.  According to an affidavit of probable cause, Guilliams said the sexual assaults occurred at Eastgate Church of Christ where he was a pastor and the incidents occurred 2 years ago.
Guilliams said he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at the church. A 17-year-old girl also reported that Guilliams had inappropriately touched her at his home, according to court documents. Both girls reported that Guilliams’s wife had talked with the young girls at the church and warned them not to dress provocatively to prevent Guilliams from lusting after them, the affidavit states.
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Feb. 1, 2010
William “Bill” McLaughlin, 45, was arrested on Dec. 17, 2009 by the Douglas County Sheriff’s office on multiple felony counts, including sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.
McLaughlin is a former youth minister at the Denver Church of Christ. The sheriff’s office received information that McLaughlin had a sexual relationship with a child who was involved in the church.
Detectives said that McLaughlin has been associated with the Denver Church of Christ for up to 20 years and he has come in contact with hundreds of children. 


Feb. 26, 2015
Nashville, AR – Jonathan Neeley, 31, a youth minister from Nashville was arrested in a sexual assault case on Feb. 23, authorities say.
In August 2014, a report was filed by multiple women regarding sexual abuse by a youth minister at the Mineral Springs Church of Christ.  That youth minister was identified as Neeley, according to a news release from the Howard County Sheriff’s Office.
Three women filed the report (one was 17, and the other two were 18 at the time of the incidents in question).
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Feb. 26, 2006
Neel, IL — A former treasurer, Steven Gene Wilson, is accused of stealing at least $45,000 from Neel Church of Christ in a case that is still unfolding, Decatur police said.
Wilson took advantage of his station as church treasurer by writing checks totaling at least $45,000 for personal use, said Sgt. Jackie Sherrill, a financial crimes investigator. "That is the amount we can prove right now," said Sherrill.
"There is a strong possibility that documents and evidence will surface showing that amount will increase," Sherrill said.
Sherrill also confirmed that Wilson mortgaged church property without board members knowing. "He forged the names of board members of the church on documents stating that they had authorized him to secure loans," Sherrill said. "He obtained the funds and kept them for his own personal use."
Documents were obtained showing that Wilson paid off an $89,100 lien on his house at 6882 Danville Road, Hartselle, in just over two years.
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Apr. 24, 2018
Huntsville, AL - Gary Bradley III, 38, is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from his church and church members tell police he confessed to the crime in front of the entire congregation.  According to police, Bradley embezzled money from Mayfair Church of Christ, located on Carl T. Jones Drive, by taking and depositing funds into an account he controlled.
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Sep. 13, 2014
Pleasant Grove, AL - Glenn VanZandt has been arrested and will be charged with second degree rape and second degree sodomy.  Authorities say that VanZandt is the pastor of the Palisades Family Church of Christ on Palisades Boulevard near Homewood.
An officer was patrolling the city around 10 p.m. on Thursday when he noticed a vehicle parked in a dark, abandoned park. "He rolled up on the car and found the 55-year-old suspect with a minor child - a female under the age of 16," Reid said.
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Dec. 9, 2017
Gretna LA - Joseph Alexander, 60, of Gretna, has been charged in federal court with 16 counts of bank fraud, accused of stealing $321,491 from his Gretna church.
The church is known as Franklin Street Church of Christ, according to its website.
Investigators with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service determined Alexander spent the money paying for his personal mortgage, his car note, his son's tuition at Mississippi Valley State University, gifts from the Apple Store and Victoria's Secret and other personal expenses such as Cox cable, as well as to cover the costs of his family's vacations to Las Vegas, Alaska, Washington, Chicago, Dallas and Memphis.
He had opened a secret, online church bank account to pay his expenses, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
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June 28, 2005
The former pastor of a Lansdale church has admitted having sexual contact with two 15-year-old female parishioners at the church and during youth group trips he supervised, police say.  Charles Dwight Smith Jr., 43, used his position as minister and youth leader of the North Penn Church of Christ to gain the trust of his victims, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Barbara Ashcroft said Monday.
Smith had served as pastor of the 150-member church at 423 Derstine Ave. for the past 15 years and youth leader for the past three, but was dismissed May 28 after the allegations surfaced, church officials said.
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Sept. 14, 2018
The pastor of King Branch Road Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge was sentenced Thursday to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay back over $1 million in restitution from a phony investment scheme he pleaded guilty to in May.  Roger Dale Williams, 52, of Shelbyville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and tax charges stemming from his scheme to defraud victims who believed that they were investing money in an “investment club” and, later, in church bonds, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office of Eastern Tennessee.
According to the release, Williams began offering bogus investment opportunities in 2001. He provided victims, many of whom were elderly, false IRS forms to show their supposed investment.  It wasn’t until recently that Williams extended his fraud scheme to members of his church in Pigeon Forge, where he had become a pastor.
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Sept. 2, 2014
Bad Axe – The 
Department of Homeland Security raided the home of Paul Rennix, pastor of Bad Axe Church of Christ, and they allegedly discovered child pornography on his personal computer, according to a search warrant unsealed last month.
In June, the host of a Christian radio show was arrested in Grand Rapids and charged with having sex with a 12-year-old boy and photographing the encounter.
Rennix, 32, was charged with two counts: receiving and possessing child pornography. Each is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


Sept. 27, 2002
Brentwood, TN — David Slater found success in two careers. As a country music singer, he won $100,000 on "Star Search" and recorded two albums for Capitol Records. As a Church of Christ preacher, he gained fellow ministers' respect and an affluent flock's admiration.
But these days the 39-year-old Slater is trying to rebuild his life. Snowed under by debt, he was caught stealing cash and credit cards from unlocked cars at a YMCA in this Nashville suburb.
In 1998, the 500-member West End Church of Christ in Nashville hired him as pulpit minister. But in July 2001 Slater's wife Melony saw police officers walking up their driveway. The police delivered their news: Slater was in jail for stealing and using other people's credit cards to buy food and gasoline. Prosecutor Derek Smith said Slater had been burglarizing vehicles for months.
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May 18, 2016
A 50-year-old Henrietta pastor turns himself into authorities after being charged with sex abuse of a child.  Robert Todd Davis turned himself in at the Archer County Sheriff’s Office after a warrant was issued in Clay County. Davis is charged with continuous sex abuse of a child and the victim was under the age of 14. He was pastor of Henrietta Church of Christ. He is also listed as a coach on the website of Wichita Christian School in Wichita Falls.
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June 14, 2011
Winder, GA -- A Barrow County Superior Court judge sentenced former youth pastor Brian Gray, 58, to 15 years in prison and 10 years of probation after he pleaded guilty to charges of child molestation, statutory rape and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
Sheriff’s investigators learned of a nine-month relationship he had with a 15-year-old girl in 2010.  Gray faces seven similar charges in Oconee County involving the same victim.
Gray, who was a youth minister at Monroe Church of Christ, was arrested in November in Notasulga, Ala.
Gray routinely drove the girl to his house for sex between December 2009 and spring 2010, according to the charges leveled in the indictment. She was 15 when their relationship began, but turned 16 before he was arrested, police said.
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Feb. 12, 2019
Spartenburg, SC - William Cooper, 63, has been arrested and extradited to South Carolina after a sex crime that took place during a Bible study in Spartanburg County back in 1976, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. “Our investigator also learned the suspect was a youth intern pastor at Central Church of Christ in Spartanburg in 1976, and that the offense occurred at the victim’s former residence during a bible study,”.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office sent an investigator to Alabama to speak to Cooper and, per Bobo, Cooper stated he didn’t remember all the details but admitted apologizing to the victims.
According to the arrest warrant, Cooper reached under a 13-year-old’s dress and groped her while she was playing the piano during a Bible study at the victim’s home.
Cooper was arrested in Alabama and extradited to South Carolina.
“Since this case is the third one in less than a week involving pastors and sex offenses, our special victims unit would strongly encourage any other victims of these 3 suspects or any other suspects to come forward, especially since South Carolina doesn’t have a statute of limitations,” Bobo said.
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Nov. 28, 2017
Les Ferguson moved to Gulfport to preach at the Orange Grove Church of Christ. Ferguson and his wife Karen spent the next 14 years building a life and a family in Gulfport.
In June of 2011, Ferguson learned that Paul Buckman, a 70-year-old member of his church congregation, had been molesting his son, Cole Ferguson, 21, who had cerebral palsy.
After his arrest in July, Buckman was released from jail on a $50,000 bond.
On Oct. 10, 2011, the Fergusons’ 24th wedding anniversary, Paul Buckman snuck into their home and murdered Karen and Cole Ferguson. He then went home and killed himself in his bathtub.
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June 26, 2014
Roanoke Rapids, NC – Documents filed in the Halifax County Clerk of Court’s Office further explain the indecent liberties with a child count lodged against a local minister and also suggest a possible obstruction of justice in the case.
William Meinsen, 47, minister of New Life Church of Christ in Roanoke Rapids “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did take and attempt to take immoral, improper and indecent liberties” with the victim in the case — a girl who was under the age of 16.


I simply googled "Church of Christ minister charged" or "Church of Christ minister arrested" and page after page was filled with incidents.  My guess - you could substitute the search with Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, etc, etc and the results might be similar.

So what can we conclude from these crimes?  Well, that's kind of up to you, the reader.  I can tell you what my conclusion is - Regardless of the claims of The Robertson Boys, and regardless of the beliefs of the Church of Christ, they are no different from any other congregation with regard to their "sinful" actions.  They have the exact same problems as the "denominations" that they constantly criticize.  And if their beliefs (mainly, water baptism) can't, or don't keep them from breaking their own moral (and criminal) laws, what good is holding those beliefs, what good is defending those beliefs?  
How can water baptism free these Church of Christ ministers from sin, when they then continue to "sin" - (after being water baptized) - by molesting and raping children in their own churches?

So, the short list of Christian denominations who's minister can't seem to keep their penises away from young girls and boys, or keep from pilfering church funds, or keep from dabbling in the sale or use of illegal drugs, in spite of believing that those activities are "sinful" or criminal:
~ Catholics
~ Baptists
~ Mormons
~ Jehovah's Witnesses
~ Church of Christ

Note - A year or so ago, apparently, The Robertson Boys had a falling out.  Micah has been tarred, feathered, and banished from the area and is now carrying on the preaching business in Montana.  As best as I can tell this family split wasn't over some major doctrine or sex sin, but over something as insignificant as communion cups, oh mercy me - but don't hold me to that because I lost interest before finding out the full story . . . and The Robertson Boys are not offering to clear up my confusion.  Matter of fact, they constantly invite people to call in to their TV show, constantly invite people to ask questions, yet they routinely ignore my comments on their YouTube channel and my emails. sent directly to them.  Unless you are willing to be apart of their on-the-air fiasco, they are not interested . . . I guess.

bob
r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

"The Christian lives in a nightmare and thinks it is a pleasant dream."

~ unknown


"All religions die of but one disease - that of being found out."

~ unknown


Comments

  1. Hi Bob! Yup, the Church of Christ sins just as much as other churches. Their legalism actually causes rebellion, and I noticed long ago that men from extreme fundamentalist churches have many sexual hangups! Their "holier than thou" persona doesn't fly when facts are presented.

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