Prominent Pastor John Ortberg Disciplined for Failing to Protect Minors From a Volunteer With Attraction to Children

By Julie Roys

UPDATE: I just received audio of Ortberg’s apology to his congregation on January 25. The audio is posted at the end of this article.

Prominent author and pastor of Menlo Church, John Ortberg, has been disciplined by his church, after failing to protect minors from a church volunteer who told Ortberg he has an attraction to minors.

According to an email elders sent to congregants on January 21, a person serving at the church confessed to Ortberg in confidence that he had an “unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors.” The person reportedly assured Ortberg that he had not acted on his attraction, and Ortberg referred the person to counseling.

However, the elders said, “John failed to take the required steps to prevent the person from volunteering with minors at the Menlo Park campus and did not consult anyone else at Menlo Church about the situation.”

Today, the daughter of John Ortberg—who was born Mallory Ortberg, but now identifies as a man called Daniel M. Lavery—revealed in a tweet that Lavery was the one who reported Ortberg to the elders.

Lavery said a longtime member of Menlo told Lavery in November that he had “experienced obsessive sexual feelings about young children.” Lavery said the person added that he had sought unsupervised volunteer positions with minors, which included overnight travel.

Lavery said that the same day, Lavery and Lavery’s “wife,” Grace, talked with John Ortberg and expressed “the gravest reservations.” However, Lavery said Ortberg dismissed Lavery’s concerns, saying that “pedophilia was like homosexuality”; “the most important thing was maintaining secrecy”; and that Lavery and Grace “lacked standing” to offer alternative treatment for sexual obsessions with children because of their recent “transitions.”

Lavery then asked Ortberg whether this person had ceased traveling overnight with children and Ortberg responded, “I’m not sure.”

Ortberg and his wife, Nancy, used to be employed by Willow Creek Community Church, and were one of the first to defend the women who accused former Willow Creek senior pastor, Bill Hybels, of sexual misconduct.

I reached out to John and Nancy Ortberg, as well as the church, for additional comment about Lavery’s assertions but have not yet heard back.

According to Lavery, Lavery and Grace wrote John Ortberg, urging him to disclose every aspect of this situation with the elders, but Ortberg did not do so. Lavery said that on November 21, he and Grace fully reported the situation to “multiple employees” and elders at Menlo. Lavery said that the following day, Ortberg went on “unspecified ‘personal leave’ from his pastoral duties.”

Similarly, the Menlo elders said, “As soon as these concerns were brought to the Board’s attention, the Board acted immediately and consistent with Menlo church policy, informed our denomination (ECO) and retained an independent investigator to look into the matter.”

The board added that the investigation and interviews of supervising staff in student and children’s ministry did not reveal any allegations of misconduct. “Nevertheless, the investigation showed John exhibited poor judgment that was inconsistent with his responsibilities as Senior Pastor.”

In addition, the elders said Ortberg is “saddened” by the risk he brought on the church community and “deeply apologizes for his action and decisions.”

The elders say they have adopted a restoration plan for Ortberg, which involved him returning to work in a limited capacity on January 24. The elders said they hope Ortberg will return to the pulpit in the “near future.”

Lavery, who’s an established author and columnist, is releasing his latest book in two weeks, called, “Something That May Shock and Discredit You.”

Audio of Ortberg apologizing to the church on January 25:

The statement the elders at Menlo Church sent to congregants:

Menlo Elder Statement_Ortberg_Redacted
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59 thoughts on “Prominent Pastor John Ortberg Disciplined for Failing to Protect Minors From a Volunteer With Attraction to Children”

    1. I respectfully disagree, Ms. Sterling.

      Daniel Lavery is not a man, but was born a woman who now chooses to identify as a man.

      Why?

      Who has the power and authority to identify who we are?

      The small “i am” that is us? Or YHWH, the Great I AM?

      The I AM who is Alpha, Omega, King of the Universe, Father and Creator, Lord Jesus Christ in Whom all things are held together?

      The current lie in the culture, that the human self alone defines who we are goes back to the Garden. The enemy deceived Adam and Eve with that lie, “You can be what you say you are!”

      Psalm 139 says we are knit together in the womb by Him, our frames were not hidden from Him, He searches and Knows us.

      We are Wonderfully Made and His works are Marvelous.

      Not surprised the enemy tries to cheapen the Image of God. he hates us.

      Here’s where it stands.
      Let the world say what it will. If I am a child of the King, then I live by The Word, His Truth.

      Yeshua is the Logos, the Word. He alone Knows our identity.

      Our identity is in Him.

      That is why I do not agree.

      May we have the courage to live by the Word. Amen.

      1. Repecting my adult Child’s choice of pronouns was very important in my child’s decision to detransition. We affirm human dignity when we use the chosen pronouns. We take away from our dignity and that of the individual’s when we don’t. If we tear down dignity why should anyone listen to the Gospel? The Gospel ceases to be good news

      2. Sabrina:

        I saw your comment, and I agree with you. I am very saddened that the biological daughter of John Ortberg is seeking re-constructive surgery in order to mask her inner self and project the outward appearances/identification as a male.

        There are several problems with her choice. The Lame Stream Media does not publish the unfortunate fact that the Recidivist rate for “trans” surgeries are quite high. Persons often choose the elective multipe reconstructive surgeries, and the STATS reveal their dissatisfaction with the final product.

        It makes me feel sad for her.

        I have sympathy and compassion for Ortberg’s daughter, and I do not wish harm on her.

        Sad to hear of this.

        1. I left a longer comment just now, hopefully it will show up…I will let the admin fix that.

          Yes, I see what you say. I have compassion for Daniel Lavery too. And Grace, for that matter.

        2. So, David…you got Sabrina’s name correct. Things went really wrong for you the rest of the way. I don’t know if John Ortberg has other children, so I can’t say he doesn’t have a daughter. However, I can say with certainty that David Lavery is his son.He’s transgender, but he’s his son.
          I’m not sure where you got the information that John Ortberg’s son was “seeking” gender-affirming surgery. He’s already received it, and it has helped him live his authentic life. John Ortberg’s son David doesn’t “identify” as a man any more than you do. He, like you, is a man. Probably more of a man than you are because he’s far more accepting of people being themselves and isn’t trying to hide is transphobic fears behind false proclamations of “compassion.”

          Now about media: You seem to feel that “media” is some sort of cohesive entity, rather than a group of corporations and companies. I use the word feel here, because it doesn’t appear that you think, only react. There’s a whole bunch of different viewpoints that get expressed by different media organizations. And, in fact, most of the reporting on transgender issues varies from downright transphobic to merely incorrect. Last year, the Atlantic published a poorly researched, poorly sourced, confirmation biased piece by Jesse Singal on detransitioning that kind of agrees with your—I guess “opinion” is the best word–on transition regret. But it was quickly debunked by people who have dedicated their careers to exploring transgender issues.

          In fact the number of people who detransition is around 2%, which is far lower than the percentage of cisgender folks who have come to regret plastic surgery. And of that two percent, most of the people who detransition do it because of the hostile reactions they receive from others, rather than any sort of regret.

          If you really had sympathy and compassion, you would be supportive of trans folk.

          1. Penny:

            You threw some unfair jabs at me in your last comment, when I had merely repeated the same questions you had raised to me earlier.

            And then I read a different comment from you in which you said, “gender is Not tied to the bodies we have. Its an orientation that we cannot change. I should know. I tried for 50 years to do that. I cannot change.”

            Penny:

            I cannot imagine your life story. That is hard to hear. You do have my sympathy and my compassion. I cannot imagine “trying for 50 years to do that” ( referring to your earlier comment ).

            I cannot imagine what you have gone through in this life. I cannot imagine wanting to change my gender.

            David Lavery, who was born as the daughter of John and Nancy Ortberg, now identifies by her own volition and choice as “trans”. David emotionally feels and identifies as a man. But she is a biological female. She has female DNA. She is a female who is identifying as “trans”. But she is not a man. Multiple surgeries will not change or alter her DNA.

            It is Not bigoted or wrong for me and others to point the above scientific fact out.

            Regarding my comment about the Media you wrote:

            it ” does not appear that you think, you only react.”

            Well, my earlier response was related to this website here.

            https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/democracyondeadline/mediaownership.html

            The point is that the above website illustrates the conclusion:

            “Ben Bagdikian, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and author of The New Media Monopoly, describes the five media giants as a “CARTEL” that wields enough influence to change U.S. politics and define social values.”

            So I was correct to earlier note the Media’s influence on directly shaping cultural and societal values and Government policy. The Media does Not report the “news”. Rather, the media reports the Narrative.

            Regarding my earlier point of gender-reassignment surgeries:

            see the following at the bottom of my post, if you are interested.

            Finally:

            Penny, I wish you peace.

            I have never had the blessing to meet you in person.

            I work with, and I fellowship and I enjoy the company of “trans-people.” The fact that I enjoy their company does Not change the point that there is very much turbulence in their inner lives. The fact that I socialize with and I encourage trans people at work and OUTSIDE of work does Not change or alter their biological birth status: their DNA never has changed.

            Penny:

            I wish you peace and comfort in your journey.

            I do not want harm to come upon you

            ————————-

            https://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth

            Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex. A 1998 review by the Research and Development Directorate of the NHS Executive found attempted suicide rates of up to 18% noted in some medical studies of gender reassignment.

            Costello used only one study to reach a conclusion on the frequency of regret. She or her staff did not look at the wealth of other studies that suggest sex change regret is quite common. One such study commissioned by The Guardian of the UK in 2004 reviewed 100 studies and reported that a whopping 20 percent (one fifth) of transgenders regret changing genders, ten times more than CNN’s Costello reported.

            https://www.newsweek.com/transgender-women-transgender-men-sex-change-sex-reassignment-surgery-676777

            Gender-confirmation surgeries—the name given to procedures that change the physical appearance and function of sexual characteristics—increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the U.S., with more than 3,000 such operations performed last year. Rates are also increasing worldwide. Now, at least one surgeon is reporting a trend of regret.

            Urologist Miroslav Djordjevic, who specializes in gender reassignment surgery, has seen an increase in “reversal” surgeries among transgender women who want their male genitalia back. In the past five years, Djordjevic performed seven reversals in his clinic in Belgrade, Serbia. The urologist explains to The Telegraph that those who want the reversal display high levels of depression, and in some instances, suicidal thoughts. Other researchers also report hearing about such regrets.

            https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/06/15145/

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/02/11/transgender-debate-transitioning-sex-gender-column/1894076002/

      3. David Lavery is a man. Denying this is in no way respectful, and in no way against God’s authority. God made David transgender. He is still a child of God. He is fearfully and wonderfully made transgender.
        The bigger issue is why is this such a big issue to you? What causes you to try and cherry-pick and selectively interpret the bible?
        Why do you get to judge?

        1. Penny Sterling:

          The person, “David Lavery”, who you are calling a “man”, is actually a biological female, and was raised a female. “David Lavery” also still has female DNA markers. That is why “David” is a female.

          Q1: by what authority are you rationally able to say, “God made “David” transgender? By what authority? By what reason? Your own opinion ?

          Q2: by what authority or reason are you rationally able to say “God made “David” wonderfully made transgender?” Are you just making this up because un-believing, secular culture teaches you?

          Q3: Why is this topic such a big issue to you? What causes you Penny to try and cherry – pick and Selectively interpret the Bible?

          Q4: Why do you get to Judge others who do Not share your non-rational opinions?

          Your views above are rooted in emotion, and you are just following Culture.

          In contrast, there are thousands of years of church Polity, church history, church practice, and church teaching, and reason, and science that supports my position.

        2. Hello Ms. Sterling.

          I left a longer post with thoughts and things to pray for. It is not up yet, and I invite you to read it.

          Yes, David Lavery is a fearfully and wonderfully made female child of God.

          God says he made us male and female. He called that “good”.

          I go by the Word of God. The Spirit of God speaks what’s in His Word. That’s how we know what He says. Creation speaks to the glory of God.

          My question to you is, why do you think God makes people transgender?

          To me, it is evidence of the fall marring is.

          Like I saw on a T-shirt long ago, “God don’t make no junk.”

          God doesn’t make mistakes. “Let us make them male and female in Our Image”, He said.

        3. Penny,
          It appears you choose to not recognize God’s truth in this matter.
          So sorry that is the case. God’s word is the ultimate authority. This watered down make up your own truth is the devil’s lie. Shall the pot complain why the master made them a certain way?
          Roman’s 1: 24-28

          24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [p]a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed [q]forever. Amen.

          26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [r]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [s]indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

          28 And just as they did not see fit [u]to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.

      4. I agree with the above statement. Maybe Ortberg did not handle the problem correctly but his DAUGHTER should not take her issues with her father by doing what she did.

      5. I agree with you Sabrina. No one wants to live by God’s word anymore but twist it so it fits to their needs.
        We are supposed to be salt and light.
        There is right and wrong and that is what this world does not want to admit. That is evil to say otherwise.
        Jesus told us to live by every word that proceeds from God. Thank you God for your word, for it seems to be the only light we have anymore in this dark world.

    2. ARE YOU KIDDING ME

      “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie…….and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind”. I don’t identify as a Professional golfer, I am a professional golfer!!

      1. Ok, but guys there’s an elephant here and nobody is addressing it!
        That is what a real apology of repentance sounds like, thank you John Ortburg!
        My ears are dying to hear a true confessing apology from
        Bill Hybels, Dr B, all those involved in the cover up at Willow. Then there’s James MacDonald, Fred Adams, Rick Donald, all those at Harvest in the cover up there. And those continuing the lies at Harvest
        Bradshaw(s),Talbot, Nudo, Adams, the list goes on and on.
        For over 35 yrs I’ve sat under the teaching of Hybels and MacDonald give the gospel message, yet neither can set it straight and let God do what they have taught He does…forgives and restores.
        Why can’t any of these people step up and let God set things straight as only He can.
        So disappointed!

        1. Jessica Hockett

          What sins has John Ortberg confessed to here? He speaks in vagaries about being wrong and not doing the right thing. No indication whatsoever of either the underlying sins, or even of what he did and didn’t do that put children’s safety at risk.

          Moreover, his own child (Daniel Mallory Ortberg) said yesterday that John Ortberg conveyed that secrecy around this situation was of utmost importance. So, Ortberg apparently tried to suppress the truth about what he did, which is a sin. Is he now going to admit that to his Congregation, assuming it’s true? Has John Ortberg apologized to Daniel Ortberg for attempting to minimize, excuse, and direct Daniel away from the matter? Doesn’t sound like it.

          What I hear is an Elder-compelled recognition of leadership failures, capped off with Oprah/Osteen-inspired comments about how “this is a real important time for me and for a lot of us to be our very best selves.”

          1. @Jessica Hockett – just curious as to what sins you see here. Certainly bad judgment on his part. Is bad judgment a sin? I’m trying to sort all of this out. Sad situation. Thanks

          2. Jessica Hockett

            Hi Don. Replying here because I can’t seem to reply to your message directly.

            I don’t know what root sins were at play when John Ortberg made a decision to approve a pedophile working with children’s ministry. Nor can I say what sins drove him to tell his child Daniel Mallory Ortberg that no one could know about what he had done. Could be pride, self-interest, self-protection (fearing exposure of his own sins)…I really don’t know.

            But alarmingly, John Ortberg doesn’t seem to know either. He also doesn’t confess in specifics, so the Congregation is left to guess re: what he did or didn’t do, exactly. There are more details in Daniel Ortberg’s tweet this week than in John Ortberg’s “apology” a couple weeks ago. In fact, I gather that Daniel Ortberg came out and told more of the story after hearing what John Ortberg told his church.

            Ortberg putting kids in his church at risk – and then trying to hide what he did – isn’t just a lapse in judgement. This is the guy who wanted Bill Hybels exposed. Why did he make such awful choices when it came to a pedophile in his own church? For his own sake, I hope he knows.

    3. You just keep doing what your doing penny…but be careful …a long long time ago I thought I could identify as God,it hasnt panned out well for me so far ……but dont listen to those science deniers DNA can be changed all you’ve got to do is really want it to.

      1. Satan! Wow, you sure have a pulled a lot of Xtian folk over to your side on this issue. Some of whom are commenting on this issue, rather than about a Pastor who thought it would be a good idea to have someone who was battling their sexual attraction to young children be given unsupervised access to young children.
        See, unlike you, I don’t “identify” as something I’m not. I am a woman. Also, pretty sure you’re only “identifying” as Satan, and are actually just another Xtian hiding their fears and screwed-up issues with their own sexuality and gender by lashing out at others who have the courage to live their authentic lives.

        Also: your grasp of science is a crappy as your grasp of theology or compassion. No one’s talking about changing DNA in regards to transgender issues. Scientists are just now studying if there’s information in DNA that is tied to being transgender. That’s a far cry from “changed.” Besides, gender is not tied to the bodies we have. It’s an orientation that we can’t change. I should know. I tried for 50 years to do that. I can’t change.

        You could change, though, from being a jerk to being a caring, compassionate human being. That’s kind of what Jesus talked about. But you don’t know anything about that, do ya, big S?

        1. Penny sterling…thank you so much for the example you set for compassion….words like jerk,and calling someone an “xtian hiding their fears and screwed up issues with their own sexuality”, are just the kind of caring compassionate words I always encourage people to use……your the best please dont ever change.

    4. Uhm, no she is not. If I say I’m a frog, does that make me a frog? No. Daniel, is and will be a woman, an adult human female. Her bone structure, DNA, every cell in her body identifies her as female. Whatever name Mallory chooses, she will always be John and Nancy’s daughter.

      1. Kamilla:

        I agree with you. In 20 years, the mere articulation of the facts you just expressed may possibly land you a fine or jail once the Thought Control police pass their sweeping hate crime legislation.

    5. SHE will NEVER be a man. All humans are born male or female. No amount of hormones or surgeries will ever change that. Only completely irrational people believe this nonsense. Folks who struggle with identity need compassion and counseling, not approval. Let’s stop the moral distortion and call identity issues what they are. Either a psychological – emotional – spiritual problem – or plain old fashioned outright sin.

  1. male and female He created them

    It’s good you put “wife” in quotations. But why wouldn’t you put “he” and “his” in quotes when referring to a woman who identifies as a man? Are you validating that people can be any gender they choose regardless of what gender they actually are?

  2. This is what an apology should look and sound like. John admitted his failure in judgment, recognized some of the impacts it had, apologized and asked forgiveness, accepted the consequences, and committed to restoration. I knew John a little bit during his time at Willow Creek. Unfortunately, too little of him rubbed off on the rest of the leadership. His teaching has always been inspired and his integrity admirable. Those of us who are still here from his time at Willow miss him dearly.

      1. BMAC – Someone’s got to stay and put the pieces back together. Perhaps I’m one of the few (I’m not), but I’ve never seen Willow as Hybels’ church, Ortberg’s church, or Bilezikian’s church. It’s always been God’s church. I’ve played many roles at Willow, experienced first-hand the abuse of power and walked with some of those who have been victims of abuse of various sorts. I must say that I find your comment insulting, and likely uneducated as well. Please keep your comments to what you know. Pot-shots at other brothers and sisters in Christ – or at anyone at all, for that matter – are unbecoming and do not reflect the spirit of Christ.

        1. Again, not surprised at any of your comments. You’re just one of the remaining kool aid drinkers.

          I’m more educated and experienced on this subject than you know.

          Your last sentence is classic spiritual manipulation. So gross. I’m so glad I got out of that church. You guys are all the same.

  3. I can barely follow The Who’s who of this soap opera tale… the words in quotes or lack there of! My gosh this is a messed up world when people can quarrel against gender! Gender?

    Good Lord that He doesn’t wipe us out for even ‘considering’ the ‘argument’ in written word or conversation! Prophetic as Jesus was in His commentary, “But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    A day is a thousand and a thousand is a day but He knew!!! Weep for this generation and get a grip! This is insanity!

  4. This is why a pastor should not also be a counselor. When someone comes to a spiritual counselor it should be confidential. That’s what counseling is about. The counselor needs to respect that. On the other hand, if the counseled person reveals something that could be harmful to the congregation the pastor should be protecting, what does he do? No one should be placed in this kind of dillema. We have pastors and we have exhorters. They should never be the same person.

    1. If they’re a mandated reporter, they are required by law to report. In California, pastors are considered mandated reporters. Perhaps because the person said he never acted on the issues he was struggling with, John did what he considered his own due diligence and felt he was not a harm. However, I still feel broader steps needed to be taken, including bringing it to the wider board and other people at the church in leadership. An investigation should have been done to clear the person of any wrongdoing or bring them to justice if needed. Hiding it may have been illegal. BUT I may be wrong since there was no outright knowledge of a crime but harm COULD have occurred. I am curious if this holds the same standard for mandatory reporting, then?

      1. I’ve run children’s programs for churches, and I’ve worked in schools for almost 40 year. No ministry director or principal in their right mind would want someone as a volunteer who confessed to those kinds of thoughts. There is too much danger the volunteer might act upon,them especially if he/she is surrounded by the very obsession he can’t stop thinking about. If something were to happen, and it came to light that someone had been approached with a pre-confession by the perpetrator, the fallout would be a lawsuit in the millions, and possibly the collapse of the church. People like this volunteer need to be sent to a reputable, specialized counselor ASAP, and banned from any children’s activities. He/she should also probably have a “minder” when attending the church to make sure they aren’t straying towards the ministry area. It doesn’t matter who the whistle blower was; the right action was taken and the church board acted accordingly. In all my years of school/church work I have unfortunately dealt with children who have been sexually abused, and two cases I had to report. Children don’t recover easily, nor do their families.

        1. Excellent post, Linn!

          Not to mention that a pre- confession was a clear indicator that he was already struggling again, and his suggestion that working with kids would “help” him with his struggles was classic obsessive addict denial. So he was having a hard time controlling his desire and manipulated his way into getting around the objects of his desire. Extremely dangerous situation and I’m certain that if he hasn’t already hurt some kids he was certainly grooming them at least.

  5. Here are more thoughts and things to keep in prayer. There are deeper stories under the one reported.

    1. It doesn’t surprise me when I hear about things like this. God is exposing things refining His Church. Are we listening?
    2. I still stand by my response to Penny Sterling. Yet, out of respect. I would try to refer to people by their preferred pronouns, even if I don’t agree with the identity.
    I think this is what Ms. Roys is doing. “Wife” is a quote from the tweet.

    3. Ortberg’s apology sounds humble and genuine. Amen to that! It took bravery for the Laverys to confront John Ortberg, it seems, not to discredit him but to get out the truth.

    Daniel Lavery, writes on a 11.28.19 post on his blog that he is “estranged from [his] family of origin”, the Ortbegs, and makes reference to “something I could not live with”, though the “something” is not named. This is the post:

    https://www.shatnerchatner.com/p/finally-taking-my-own-advice-about

    Pray for the Ortbergs and Laverys.

    4. Indeed, Where are the “wailing women” (jr 9:17) who are to cry out over the brokenness of the church, of Menlo Park Church, over John Ortberg and Daniel Lavery, this voulunteer, and the sexual brokenness and family brokenness in our land?

    Wailing women, who’s with me?

    5. “Sex has to do with everything. The sooner we accept this, the better everything will go. Our avoidance of sexuality has cost us more than can ever be calculated.”—Vinita Hampton Wright, The Soul Tells a Story (p107)

    For context, Hampton is a Christian Author. Let’s face it. We are made for connection, made with this sexuality that God put deep in the heart of everybody. As Paul writes in Ephesians:

    “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:30-32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    Yes. The act of sex between a man and woman in marriage is a metaphor for how close Christ wants to be with His Church. We are the Bride. He is the Groom.

    It is physical, it is spiritual. The desire for sex isn’t the act so much as it is to be intimately connected, deeply known and loved.

    Is it any wonder why the enemy attacks human sexuality? He doesn’t care how the wounding is done, whether through old-fashioned lust, inflaming a disordered affection for minors, or getting a woman to think she is a man and a man to think he is a woman, with she as “husband” and he as “wife”, along with all the distortions, reversals and iterations and “expressions” of sexuality that makes the head spin.

    Satan makes confusion. God creates order and beauty.

    Julie’s recent podcasts touching on sexual issues offer food for thought.

    6. Satan hates families. He doesn’t care how a family is broken, whether by religious people, estrangement, or agendas. He doesn’t care, as long as we’re isolated and alone.

    God loves families. His Kingdom is a family. His heart for us is unity, wholeness, purity, holiness, joy, beauty, Shalom, Love.

    7. We lift up all those in the families affected by this. Open their eyes with Your powerful light. Create surrendered, pure hearts. Purify our sexuality. Give us compassion for the sexually broken. Heal these souls. Bring us back. Ravish us. Purify is and love us, Oh lord! Amen.

  6. There are more comments here about gender transition than about a well meaning but reckless pastor endangering other people’s children. Let’s stick to the point eh?

    I really admire Pastor John Ortberg and hope he will be restored, but he really messed up. I agree with previous comments commending him on humbling himself and coming clean about getting it really wrong – like we all do.

    Good on you John, but go and get some clinical education on peadophilia and its treatment and risks and encourage other church leaders to do the same.

  7. It’s a good thing WCCC is a mega church for your sake Julie. With the amount of people connected to the church, your “investigative” reporting will help you do what you do for years. I am not sure what spiritual gift yours falls under???? You just keep checking people off that list…………..
    (perhaps this comment will not make the posting cut)

    1. VH, you are incorrect to blame Julie for revealing the truth. Think and ponder on the message convey not the messenger who reveals it. You cannot blame the media, society, Hollywood, video games et ot for the ills of the world but look at the true source of the problem. I trust that you have not rejected His servants and the Cornerstone. (Mark 12:1-12)

    2. Julie Roy’s and Dee Parsons are out of control. Yes MacDonald, Hybels, et al are evil men who have brought great shame and disgrace on the church. Ortberg made a judgement call which actually, apparently caused no harm. Roys and Parsons need to examine their own lives. There are thousands of pastors who serve and have served the Lord, seeking to be obedient in all things. We are all sinners. We all make mistakes. Spotlight the good.

      1. If it wasn’t for Julie Roys and Dee Parsons and The Elephant Debt website and Wandering Eagle website, then thousands of unsuspecting and naive people would still be continuing to get robbed and abused by James MacDonald, who is the 4-star general of the Evangelical Celebrity Pastor Industrial Complex. ( a complex that shuns accountability and transparency )

        https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2019/11/10/its-time-for-the-ex-harvest-community-to-bring-a-class-action-lawsuit-against-james-macdonald/#more-19965

        Julie and Dee and Jessica Hockett:

        Your LABOR in the Lord is NOT in vain. Keep up the Great Work !!

        The Evangelical Celebrity Pastor Industrial Complex is being destroyed.

  8. Disagree with VH. Cover-ups are not godly, and repentance has become for our generation something of a “lost sacrament,” so to speak.. Stiff-necked and rebellious has been the way.

    Julie is a brave soul doing us all a great service, and is inspired by God.

    Consider these: Bible verses related to the end-times falling away of the church, and you will find her “charter” therein:

    1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    Hebrews 6:4-6 – For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

    2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

    Hebrews 3:12-19 – Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

    Revelation 2:4-5 – Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

    2 Peter 2:20-22 – For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

    Matthew 24:10-13 – And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

    Revelation 3:11 – Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

    James 1:12 – Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

    1 Timothy 4:16 – Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    1 Corinthians 9:27 – But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

  9. The title and issue is the discipline of John Ortberg which should be the main topic. Any thoughts on his daughter/son transition should be discussed in a separate and future date. I commend the Menlo Church’s leadership in their spiritual maturity in handling this issue and discipling their Senior Pastor. The concept of one person is not greater than the Body. Or as states so eloquently by that great Vulcan philosopher “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” WCCC and HBC puppets can learn from their mistakes and not make excuses that the results are more important than the process. I applaud John in owning up to his error and apologizing publicly to his staff, elders and church. As he stated in his apology; “the church is not a human organization but the Body of Christ”. Billy after his denials and casting blame on his victims remains hidden and out of the limelight. In contrast, JimmyMac has no shame; the emperor with no clothes. In his own mind, he truly believes he was wrong, still fit for ministry admist the carnage that he has left behind. He continues to blame HBC, sue fellow believers (contrary to Scripture) and stain the name of Christ, https://jamesmacdonaldministries.org/controversy/

    1. The old bait and switch, huh? Let’s not discuss John Ortberg basically hiding that there is a pedophile in his church. Forget about him. Let’s go back to James MacDonald who has been thoroughly exposed (rightfully so). Here’s the link…lol. Any adult, let alone pastor, with judgement this bad is unfit. What else is/has he hidden from the church? I wouldn’t take my children anywhere near that church ever again.

  10. This one takes the whole entire cake. A pastor is aware there is a volunteer in the church struggling with pedophilia and orders him to “counseling.” You cannot counsel away pedophilia. There is no cure and possible treatment includes drug therapy and most importantly restricting the person’s access to children. The pastor does not alert the church leadership or membership. Nor does he investigate to make sure no children have come into inappropriate contact with this person. He just takes the person’s word for it that he never acted on it. He does not remove the man from the church or restrict his access to children. To top it all off he has a daughter who thinks she’s a man and the daughter is the one who reported her pastor father? The pastor is still in the pulpit and there are people angry that this was posted and people applauding the pastor for apologizing. Just wow.

    1. Carla, Which website and degree mill did you earn your doctorate in medicine, psychiatry and psychology from? To say that “there is no cure and possible treatment including drug therapy” must be supported by research, documentation and other professionals in the industry. Please do not share your opinions read from a fortune cookie in this Chinese New Year of the Rat. Are you saved confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior? I firmly believe that Jesus can change any sinners. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. I implore you not to glorify your pharisaical laws over God’s love grace and power.

      1. GJ,

        Thanks to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological association there is no cure for Pedophilia and treatment is tenuous and spotty, at best. Facts about this condition are established and readily available for anyone who would like the truth about it. But you don’t want the truth, do you? Jesus said the truth will set us free.

        Thanks for posing the question on medical credentials, however, because I was wondering where Mr. Ortberg received his medical training when I read that he advised a pedophile to seek counseling for a serious and dangerous psychological condition. I notice the article doesn’t sate if Mr. Ortberg actually ever actively helped this individual receive counseling or verified that he did. No, he let this person continue to roam free in a church where children are members. That’s even more shocking to me because every state that I’m aware of requires clergy to report any instances of possible sexual abuse at their churches. We don’t know that any abuse occurred and I sure hope not. However, knowing the nature of pedophiles I don’t think anyone should take this person’s word for it that he never acted on his feelings.

        I truly hope someone at the church asks authorities to launch an independent investigation to find out if any children were ever harmed. Someone should also find out why this member of clergy did not take precautions to notify parents at the church or restrict the individual from being near children.

        Thanks for the Bible verse. However, it really has nothing to do with this matter. Grace does not alleviate the responsibility all of us have, especially pastors, to protect the most vulnerable among us–especially children.

        Matthew 18:6 – But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

        Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

        Jesus protected the poor, helpless, and defenseless and I try my best to also. I’m sorry but I have no interest in coddling pastors who aren’t doing their job.

  11. All of this is troubling. People who are replying about if John Ortberg’s child should be considered male or female has missed the point of this article. That is a topic on it’s own. The problem is about safety of the people within the church. I know this man confronted John Ortberg in confidence, but the safety of the church should come first. So many secrets within churches is so sad and troubling.

    1. Judy:

      No, we have Not missed the point of the article.

      I understand the point of the article, and I am content with what others have already commented.

  12. misterjesperson

    There are a boatload of issues here in this one post. Take your pick. Lead pastors being “counselors” when they do not actually know what they are doing. The lead pastor whose family produces a “transgender” child. The issues of what to call the transgender child. All those are valid issues in there own but to me the big issue is, according to C.S. Lewis, When did the wrong road turn into the right one?

    The parent church was certainly a bad seed, producing bad fruit from the beginning. Most did not recognize it until the sin fully matured and brought forth death. But there were many bad people brought into and trained into a system that never had Jesus as its actual head from day one. This was never, and is never, ever, going to be Jesus’ Church! Individuals are free to leave and become part of something real. But this family-the Ortbergs-are not bearing good fruit according to how it is defined in the New Testament. They became victims ultimately in this false church, but they were also in leadership and bear some responsibility for that same fruit. All of the rest of this including the above list I mention are a confusing fruit that just shows that Jesus was not, and is still not, in the wake of what has happened. If only we had eyes to see…

    1. Sorry MisterJesperson. While he admits his judgement was poor, were you aware that John Ortberg has a PhD in Clinical Psychology? Given your comment about “lead pastors being ‘counselors’ when they do not actually know what they are doing,” your facts in this case are clearly incorrect. Pastor’s families – and those of psychologists as well – are not immune to what we would typically consider dysfunction, nor are any of ours. Let’s get back to the main issue here. Ortberg used poor judgement.

      1. If he is indeed a clinical psychologist this goes far beyond “poor judgement.” So he knows these people cannot be cured but still chose to allow this person to stay in the midst of children without restricting his access to them or notifying their parents? That sounds like a willful, deliberate and well informed choice. There is a push underway to normalize pedophilia the same way homosexuality and transgenderism has been normalized. Pedophilia is still stigmatized, as well it should be, however I see a burgeoning softening of attitudes on this condition which has ruined so many innocent people’s lives. Only God can read hearts, minds, and knows intentions. At the same time “I’m sorry” from someone with a PhD in Psychology for harboring someone with sexual attraction towards children doesn’t quite measure up here. Just wow.

  13. Indeed, Mister Jesperson.

    There are a slew of issues here. The thing that seems to link them is:

    A) Everything in us needs to be surrendered to Christ.

    B) Our sexuality needs to be totally surrendered to Christ. I know He is big enough to walk with each of us in that journey, whether that volunteer, an Ortberg-Lavery…or you. Whatever your journey is.

    May everyone here know the earth-shaking, healing love of God. And how Beloved you are to Him. May you see Him seeing you. Amen.

  14. I have attended Menlo Church for several years. I don’t find it at all clear what the true situation is. The person was described as somebody with obsessive thoughts. This may very well be somebody with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, where the compulsion is often not tied to the obsessive thoughts. If this were the case, volunteering would have been a form of exposure/response therapy. John has a PHD in Clinical Psychology and he is in a better position than we are to know whether or not he was truly putting anybody at risk. I don’t think he should have outed the member for obsessive thoughts that are not being acted on, but agree that it would have been a safer call to recommend that the person not put the church in a position like this by volunteering.

    In addition, Menlo has a strict rule that one adult is never allowed to be alone with any child. There must always be two unrelated adults. I have volunteered in kids ministry at Menlo and this rule is strictly followed.

    There is a lot that doesn’t add up when it comes to other parties involved in this. For example, I don’t understand why the church member would reach out to Mallory, who has nothing to do with Menlo Church, in order to confess this. Mallory also called out that Nancy Ortberg, who is also on staff, knew about this, but the elders didn’t discipline Nancy.

    I think there are more layers to this than what is being reported. I wish that John would come out and give his honest rationale and then apologize for whatever he feels the need to apologize for. If he felt that nobody was at risk and was trying to protect the privacy of a church member, he should feel comfortable stating that while also admitting it was not the best call to make. I don’t think he deserves the beating he is taking over this.

    I’m sure a lot of people won’t agree with me. I just want to give the perspective of somebody who has attended Menlo and been a volunteer with the kids ministry. I am sure some won’t like that I used Mallory’s birth name, but I honestly find her to be incredibly toxic and don’t want to validate her and attention grabbing persona. I feel bad for John and Nancy that they have had to deal with her. I am sure that the broken relationship with her is very hard on the the rest of the family.

  15. 1. I think this is being blown way out of proportion, nothing bad happened thankfully. John is human, thought he handled it, everyone relax.
    2. The most heartbreaking part of this story is that John’s own DAUGHTER, a woman who thinks she’s a man (sad enough on it’s own) is the one who threw him under the bus. She’s got some serious issues.
    3. Evil is alive and thriving because SIN and depravity are not being confronted. Sad for this situation – and for our world.

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