Facing allegations of spiritual abuse and deception, Alan Scott, lead pastor of the Dwelling Place, on Sunday denied the allegations and compared his situation to persecution and being a “lamb among wolves.” Meanwhile, about a dozen protesters picketed outside the church service in Anaheim, California.
Scott also told his congregation that he’s not taking offense to those accusing him and implored his congregation to do the same.
“We love those people,” Scott said. “And they loved us until they didn’t. We’re not angry. And so, here’s my imploring to you. Please don’t be angry on our behalf. God is doing something too precious here for us to allow that.”
Scott told his congregation that they should expect persecution and “to be like lambs among wolves.” But to applause, he added, “. . . Now look at how you respond when the darkness comes. ‘For the light shines in the darkness. But the darkness has not—will not, cannot—overcome it.’ And, ‘blessed are you who are persecuted.’”
This was the first time Scott spoke publicly since The Roys Report (TRR) published an exposé about Scott’s leadership about two weeks ago. This included allegations Scott imposed salvation quotas on staff, used loyalty tests to control employees, claimed he could see people’s hidden sin, and judged staff according to their body type. Scott pastored at both Vineyard Anaheim, now called Dwelling Place, and Causeway Coast Vineyard (CCV) in Ireland.
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“Once again Alan demonstrates his total disregard for his victims, wrapping it up in a false sense of honor and without any accountability on his part,” said Donna Finney, former CCV staff whose story TRR reported previously. “If insults are considered a ‘blessing,’ then I was truly blessed during my time at CCV. Nothing can take away from my truth and my experience under his leadership.”
On Sunday in Anaheim, picketers held signs stating, “Jesus was the last prophet not Alan Scott, nor is Alan Scott an apostle”; “Alan Scott, Kathryn Scott came to the U.S. to prey on trusting people?”; and, “Preach honor, Behave with Dishonor.”
“We wanted to get people to understand what’s really happening, and how Alan is hiding that information from those people,” said Steve Bray, picketer and former Vineyard Anaheim church member.
Following the TRR report, a former member of Scott’s church, drummer Noah DeBolt, posted a video on social media accusing Jeremy and Katie Riddle and Alan and Kathryn Scott of spiritually abusing him. Jeremy Riddle is a well-known Christian worship leader and is on both the staff and the board of Dwelling Place.
“I went from being a full-time professional drummer to being deeply traumatized, depressed, barely able to eat, or go outside, or take a shower, just like basic human stuff,” DeBolt said on his video. “Sadly, my story is not unique at all. There are dozens of other victims, including my wife, who have been violated and abused by these leaders who do so in the name of God.”
Scott did not specifically address any of the allegations against him but said he’s been praying for God to reveal things he’s done wrong, adding: “Even though what people say isn’t true, there are other things that are true.”
Scott said that initially, he forgave his critics but hoped God wouldn’t.
“I started to pray, ‘God I forgive them, but don’t you forgive them,’” Scott said. “That’s a biblical response, right? Make room for God’s wrath.”
Yet Scott said God changed his heart so he could bless his accusers. And rather than be offended, Scott urged his congregation to pray for them, and those accusing Jeremy Riddle and his wife, Katie Riddle.
“Don’t be offended for us; pray,” Scott said. “. . . And certainly not on our behalf or on Jeremy or Katie’s—they would say the same, don’t pick it up on their behalf. Please pray for those people who are doing those things and saying those things, pray for them.”
In addition to the allegations of spiritual abuse and manipulation, the Scotts, Riddles, and Dwelling place are facing a lawsuit filed last November, accusing them of stealing the $62 million church property where Dwelling Place meets. The property used to belong to Vineyard Anaheim—the longtime flagship church of the Vineyard movement. But last March, Vineyard Anaheim removed itself from Vineyard USA and changed its name to Dwelling Place.
The Dwelling Place board has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
A March church statement claimed attendance is higher at Dwelling Place than it was prior to the disassociation from Vineyard. However, Dwelling Place hasn’t responded to a request for current attendance numbers. And the video from the service last Sunday showed much of the auditorium empty and blocked off by large black curtains.
Scott’s wife, Kathryn Scott, also a well-known worship leader, said during last Sunday’s service that this past year her “world turned upside down.” She said she’s grieved but refuses to take offense at all that’s happened.
“The Lord spoke very clearly to me,” she said. “The way that I’ve been able to pray is because of the Lord’s kindness and instruction. He just said at the very, very beginning, He said, ‘things are about to get very painful for you.’”
Alan Scott said he remains optimistic, despite the hardships. “Let me just say this,” he said. “The Lord has many works for you in the future.”
Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.