Steve Morgan, founder and president of a group of 26 evangelical-charismatic churches known as the Network, has been hiding a disqualifying sexual crime he committed 36 years ago, according to a whistleblower group of former Network-affiliated staff.
The former staff, who have launched a website called Leaving the Network, say Morgan and other Network leaders have also tried to silence members of their group and have spiritually abused people in Network churches.
According to documents published at Leaving the Network, Morgan was arrested for allegedly committing aggravated criminal sodomy against a minor in November 1986. The case was diverted, with Morgan agreeing to penalties, including attending mandatory counseling and paying for any therapy the victim required.
At the time of the alleged crime, Morgan was a 22-year-old youth leader at a Kansas church associated with the Reorganized Latter-Day Saints, an offshoot of the larger Church of Latter-Day Saints. Nine years later, in 1995, Morgan founded Vine Church, the Network’s flagship church in Carbondale, Illinois. Morgan now serves as lead pastor of Joshua Church in Austin, Texas, a Network affiliate.
“The criminal complaint is of the most horrific nature,” said Andrew Lumpe, a former pastor and one of 19 former Network-affiliated staff who helped organize Leaving the Network. “This was forcible rape of a 15-year-old child. . . . For someone with this background to be a pastor who’s in a position of authority—over thousands of people in dozens of churches—it gives me and many people cause for great concern.”
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The Network Leadership Team countered in a letter published online that Morgan was not a believer at the time of the alleged crime. The leaders add, “(Morgan) has continued to walk in character, integrity and purity since he became a follower of Jesus and a leader in the church. Steve has been faithfully married for 27 years to his wife Shu-hui and they have raised four healthy children together who are all actively following Jesus.”
The Network leaders also add that by using an “anonymous, public forum, our accusers are handling their grievances in a way that is unbiblical, unproductive and harmful to Jesus’ church.”
However, Lumpe and several other former staff behind Leaving the Network have signed their names to an online petition, calling for an independent investigation of Morgan and “ongoing spiritual abuses” within Network churches. That petition currently has more than 330 signatures.
Those associated with Leaving the Network also told The Roys Report (TRR) that they tried to resolve issues privately with Network leaders for three years but were unsuccessful.
Lumpe told TRR he first became aware of Morgan’s alleged crime in 2007. Lumpe said prior to that time, Morgan did not disclose his alleged crime to Lumpe, even though Lumpe had been serving as an overseer at Blue Sky Church in Seattle, Washington, and Morgan had been serving as Blue Sky’s lead pastor.
According to Leaving the Network, Morgan also did not disclose his crime to the Vineyard Association in 1995 when he planted Vine Community Church. Until 2006, Vine and other churches Morgan had planted were formally associated with Vineyard USA, a charismatic fellowship of churches.
Jimmy Hinton, an independent consultant to churches who was on-staff with Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.) for four years, said the lack of transparency is a red flag. “If this genuinely had been dealt with between Steve and the alleged victims and is now in the past, there should be transparency. He should have no problem telling people beyond this leadership team,” he said in a phone interview.
TRR reached out to Steve Morgan for comment through his church via phone and email but did not receive a response.
A history of secrecy and cover-up
According to multiple letters and statements over years, Morgan kept his criminal history a secret from all but his mentor and two confidants within the Network.
Jaime Moyers, Morgan’s former pastor in Illinois who sent him out to plant his first church, recently stated that Morgan did not disclose his arrest history. On July 17, Moyers wrote online: “…he manipulated his way to planting a Vineyard church. This whole thing was started from a corrupt foundation.”
Among those few with some knowledge of Morgan’s crime were his mentor, Larry Anderson, and two close friends and members of the Network Leadership Team—Sándor Paull, a college friend and pastor of a Network church, and James Chidester, a paid counselor to Network church pastors.
In 2007, when Morgan was lead pastor at Blue Sky Church and Anderson was an overseer there, Morgan became visibly distressed during a conference, Lumpe wrote in a 2020 letter to Morgan obtained by TRR. Anderson and Chidester then reportedly told Lumpe some of what they knew of Morgan’s past crime.
“I had numerous questions, confusion, and much distress as to its potential implications in terms of victim impact, pastor qualifications, (and) impact on the church,” Lumpe wrote. “I held these questions to myself as it was communicated to me to remain silent and that the issue was a closed matter.”
Mandated by Anderson and Chidester to keep the information secret even from his wife, Lumpe did not disclose it for many years while attending Blue Sky Church, Lumpe said. Lumpe resigned as an overseer at Blue Sky in 2011, while his wife, Torrey, remained on staff. They then moved to California to help launch another Network church in 2016.
In 2019, when church abuse issues began to make headlines, Lumpe’s conscience weighed on him, as he later recounted to Network leaders. He contacted an expert anonymously who expressed concern and offered counsel. Lumpe sent a letter to Network leaders on July 2, 2019, which was obtained by TRR. This letter included 20 specific unresolved questions about the incident, its aftermath, and long-term impact.
Chidester, part of the Network Leadership Team, spoke to Lumpe via phone a few days later. According to Lumpe’s recollection of the meeting, Chidester accused Lumpe of “unethical” conduct for “making recommendations,” for “going outside the Network to seek advice,” and for “trying to re-prosecute Steve for a sexual assault committed years ago.”
Within nine months, the Lumpes left their Network-affiliated California church.
Hinton, an advisor to Leaving the Network since late 2021, commented on the paper trail of correspondence. “These former leaders generally just want information. They’ve been met with pretty strong resistance within the Network, and that seems strange to me.”
Alleged ongoing abuse and lack of accountability
Since it launched last August, Leaving the Network has published dozens of stories of former Network-church members and staff who describe what they call patterns of spiritual abuse.
One couple, Dean and Sarah Fletcher, attended Network affiliate Foundation Church in Illinois for four years. They recount being ignored, gaslit, and excommunicated from the church, noting how the pastor, Justin Major, a mentee of Morgan, led “through manipulation first, and if ineffective, then through outright power.”
In the recent letter to Network churches, Network leaders denied all allegations “of spiritual abuse and of attempting to control people for our own power and gain.”
Lumpe believes the culture of secrecy and control plays into ongoing issues of abuse. “When there’s issues of abuse of power and authority at the highest level, then it’s likely to permeate throughout the whole system,” he said.
Leaving the Network details the unconventional governance structure of the Network using a series of diagrams. The organization’s board is comprised of the same Network pastors that the board purports to hold accountable.
The website includes a recording of Morgan outlining this circular accountability structure during an overseers training session.
Hopes for independent investigation
Through their petition, Leaving the Network continues to call for an “unbiased, unimpeded” investigation into the Network by a group of independent, qualified third-party experts such as GRACE. They urge that the results and recommendations be reported publicly.
Hinton praised the goals of the petition, which include a call for training of leaders and pastors to safeguard from abuse. “Within any religious structure, there has to be transparency and accountability,” he said. “It’s clear that the Network has not operated by those principles.”
He also noted the significance of 19 former Network leaders who had served in 10 different churches stating concerns with one voice. “When you have that many people speaking up, it paints a whole different story,” said Hinton. “It points to significant problems within the Network.”
Lumpe says hundreds of former Network members and leaders have engaged with their online community. While the Network’s ongoing lack of response hasn’t surprised him, “it’s really heaping more abuse on these survivors,” he said.
“Our concern is first and foremost with the safety and wellbeing of people,” he said. “This initiative has given people a voice where they felt like they had no voice before.”
This article has been updated to correct an earlier timeline inaccuracy and to omit mention of a source per request.
52 thoughts on “Whistleblowers Say Leader of ‘Network’ of Churches Hid Sexual Crime for 36 Years”
If I have said once, I have said it a thousand times – white American evangelicalism is corrupt, immoral and filled with rot and sewage….
We see that daily demonstrated here – thank God for the Roys Report – exposing the white American evangelical cult.
When you lump an entire group of people under labels, it’s called prejudice and it leads to discrimination. Substitute the word “black” for white in your post and you will begin to understand why Christians are told to love others as they love themselves.
“white American evangelicalism” and “white American evangelical cult” are prime examples of prejudice in action. If I posted something similar, like “black Americans are corrupt, immoral and filled with rot and sewage,” how would you respond?
“If I posted something similar, like “black Americans are corrupt, immoral and filled with rot and sewage,” how would you respond?”
Then you would be placing a derogatory label on a race of people based on skin color, and not calling out corruption in a corporation run by white folks, as Mr. Logan did.
“Corporation run by white folks” is a loaded phrase. Can you define what you mean by it? Is it ONLY run by white folks? Who are the white folks running it? Or does it run by itself?
Sorry, Andrew, but you can’t separate a “corporation” from its people. If it is run by human beings, it means you disparage those human beings by calling it “corrupt, immoral and filled with rot and sewage.”
@Greg, the whole human race is sinful and every subset of it. If you have read through the Roys Report you will find that she has exposed, Whites, Blacks, Indians, Asians, etc. It is tragic when those who claim to be part of the church do such dishonoring things to our Lord and to humanity.
I wonder whether Mr. Morgan committed a sodomitic rape of a 15-year-old boy or a 15-year-old girl. The “pastors and board members behind him” in the photo all look like boys.
The court records identify the alleged victim as male. You can view them either on Leaving the Network or on my own site.
Thank you for the information, Jeff Irwin.
Why does it matter? Rape is rape, and sexual abuse of a child is sexual abuse of a child regardless of the sex of the adult perpetrator and underage victim.
There is also the fact that research has shown that many pedophiles who target boys are otherwise completely heterosexual and happily married (i.e. not just married to cover up their abominable crimes).
I read the article. I wondered about a piece of information that was left out. I asked the question, and it was answered.
That is all.
So the scariest part (beyond the lack of transparency and attempts to silence good-faith questioning by those within the organization) is that rape and sodomy are all about power and control. Domination of another without regard to his/her humanity or suffering. That means that a man with these unresolved issues (yes, the crime is in the past, but he refuses to tell how he dealt with it) is in a position of authority and leadership over others. AND they have a “circular” accountability, which is accountability in form only. As in, they will hold themselves accountable for any wrongdoing, rules violation or what have you. The sheeple have no input.
Please, do not walk away from this Network of churches. RUN.
Thank you for bringing this story to light. So many people have been hurt from these churches. LeavingtheNetwork.org was created to help support, resource and educate people on the spiritual abuse taking place in The Network.
This just seems cruel to plaster this on internet and revel in it. This was sin from before he was a Christian. It’s horrific but he did his time and no indication he’s done anything like this since. We all deserve privacy and to be judged on who we are and thankfully not the worst thing we’ve ever done. Sounds like Jesus saved him and changed his entire life. What they did here just feels vindictive and cruel.
Steve lied about this aggravated sodomy charge when being ordained as a pastor in the Vineyard churches. He would likely have never been a pastor or led a team to plant in Carbondale had the extent of his crime been understood.
Bobby, it does not matter that Mr Morgan committed this offense before he was saved. It is still a crime no matter when it occurred. Then he covered it up for 36 years! How can you say “he did his time” when he has not received any punishment from the law?
And yes, these stories do need to be brought out into the public eye. This makes me angry, sick and disgusted. I’m not reveling in this. Anyone no matter who they are should be exposed, tried in a court of law, and if found guilty serve their time. They deserve no mercy for hurting children especially. Not to mention the abuse against women in the church that has gone on much too long. Thank you Julie Roys for your courage!
Hurray! Jesus saved him. Would you trust this man around your teenage boys? Also, they outed a leadership that kept secrets about the sexual assault the head pastor committed. He hid it for years and then lied about it. And then senior leadership pretended it never happened. Why would anyone trust anything they say from now on?
He raped that child while serving as a church youth leader. This disqualifies him from volunteering at a church, let alone being the lead pastor and running a Network of churches. Paul didn’t back away from the fact that he was a great sinner and prosecutor of the early church, in fact he used his horrendous sins as a public testimony to the redemptive power of Christ. Morgan covered up, repeatedly lied, and intentionally mislead church leaders during his rise, because at every step of the way he knew if he truthfully confessed his sins, it could disqualify him from being a pastor. So he used lies to gain authority and then designed an entire Network on the premise of absolutely loyalty to leaders and silencing dissent.
Imagine if instead he was truthful with his employers, overseers, and congregation, using his wicked past as a testimony for Christ. Instead he lied for 35 years, and when he did share details with his close friends, he lied that child was 17 and it was consensual, when in fact his arrest was for forcibly sodomizing a 15 year old. Yet today, he still has free reign over a church as a lead pastor with apparently unfettered access to children and zero accountability, by design. The network leadership board, which requires full unanimity on the firing of pastors, includes Morgan as its president, and the rest of the overseers Steve hired as pastors, groomed and selected for their absolute loyalty. A habitual liar, an arrested child rapist, who controls his own employment as pastor, with handpicked lackeys as his only source of oversight? Doesn’t sound like anyone who should be remotely close to leading a church.
But yes, the victims and truth tellers who made this public are vindictive and cruel…
Still have the consequences of that crime on this earth. Reporting here is telling you to be aware of these people. Start reading and watching Jimmy Hinton. He knows his stuff. It is not vindictive to bring to light the atrocities that were done. VERY few molesters and rapists have only one victim.
Every day this man concealed his crime, he actively lied to his family and congregation. Also, although there may not be an indication here that he’s done anything like it since, in my many years of working in child protection, I’ve never once met someone who had only committed the one offense for which they were busted.
And this is why people are leaving “churches” left and right. Who can we trust anymore? Physical and spiritual abuse is rampant. I can only imagine how grieved our Heavenly Father must be.
I haven’t stepped foot into any church since 2018. The “pastors” who were supposed to protect us just didn’t. False doctrine, lies, manipulation. It’s no better in the church than it is in the world.
Thank you Julie Roys for continuing your mission, may God richly bless you!
This TRR article should be respected on its face. However concern would exist about the manner in which various strands of alleged criminal sexual offence, deceit associated with those offence events, and claims of systemic “spiritual abuse”; are being presented as a single nexus of concern. All those strands may exist as reported, but in the first instance, and regards calls for investigation, they should initially be approached as separate. The report provides no justification for considering these matters of concern as unified; and as such an aspect of innuendo without evidence obtains. If kept separate, each strand to the purported nexus for concern, would allow those criticised by this TRR report, to respond specifically to each strand; whereas as things stand, the criticism they are being made subject to, is very broad brush in what it suggests.
Pastors are to be above reproach. One of the main reasons pedophiles levitate towards church ministry is because most Christians assume (automatically) those in power over them are above reproach. We want to believe speaking the name of Jesus often enough is sure proof of purity, but Scripture warns otherwise. A pastor who hides having raped and viciously abused a child probably does so because HE knows such wickedness should mean exclusion from the pastorate.
The Old Testament Prophets warned against the evils of offering children to the fires of the god Molech. God called those children His children and His warnings against the people who committed such cruelty was dire.
It’s evil for the churches to say child rapists serving in ministry have been forgiven and basically excuse their crimes. Saying, as Bobby does in an earlier post, that there’s no proof Morgan ever raped other children is to leave all children in his wake vulnerable. Children in our country are being fed to the dogs. It’s a pity, (a crime, really) that most churches are not a safe haven for them.
That’s my point. It wasn’t hidden. It was fully prosecuted. And he had accountability with someone in ministry the whole time. It was horrible and evil but I’m not convinced everyone needs to know every detail of every pastors life. You can judge someone on their current self and we got 30 years here.
His current life sounds like it’s above reproach as no other claims of any wrongdoings are being made. Either you believe in gospel of Jesus or you deny it’s power. You can’t do both. And maybe it was foolish to give him a leadership role. If it turns out he’s been raping up in those churches then, yeah, string him up. But that doesn’t sound like the case. So what’s the point in bringing it up in context of current spiritual abuse complaints except to tear someone down with some cheap shots.
Maybe you’ve lived a perfect life or don’t know anybody who’s actually changed their lives but I’m sick and tired of cancel culture that wants to reprosecute everything and use people’s past to hurt and shame and shut down.
“…no other claims of any wrongdoings are being made.”
You can argue over the veracity and validity of the claims being made, but they are definitely being made. This statement is false.
The “Leaving the Network” site is full of stories of wrongdoing (primarily spiritual abuse) by the network led by Steve Morgan. My site (notovercome.org) discusses similar wrongs throughout the network (primarily with regards to weak or incorrect teachings). For an example of Steve Morgan specifically, see my blog on MBT Session 2 – Part 1 (click blog, then find the article dated June 13th) and read the section titled “Deep Dive: Staff Pastors.” I shared audio where Steve Morgan openly defends the practice of appointing a “new young guy that can’t teach his way out of a wet paper bag” and specifically a man who had been a Christian for no more than 8-10 months. That violates “able to teach” for sure, and likely “not a new convert” (both are qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3). He established a governance structure that is out of step with most evangelical churches (hierarchical) and is considered “unwise” by Wayne Grudem, the network’s favored theologian, because it can lead to abuses of power. Steve Morgan refused to investigate dozens of allegations of spiritual abuse within his churches.
You should listen to Morgan’s talk about pastoral oversight and accountability. He argues that the duty of his fellow pastors as the leadership team that provides oversight in the organization is to protect him so that he can lead without fear. That’s right, it’s not to protect the rank and file from abuses by the leadership, it’s to protect the leadership from accusations of misconduct from the rank and file.
So if real accountability is your looking for, then you’re looking at the wrong man.
The man is gay and sodomized a boy. Period. Such will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus did nothing of this. Even Paul who did other evil and then was saved speaks clearly about homosexuality. What you are saying is just pure evil. The guy is a sociopath, not a Christian leader.
Mr. Ralph Jesperson:
“Such will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
Are you saying God has barred the door to certain kinds of sinners? Are you telling us God is too small to save the worst of sinners?
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16, 17
Nothing we ever do, no matter how good, gets us into heaven. Nothing we ever do, no matter how bad, keeps us out of heaven if we know Christ.
We will go through Christ alone, or we will not go at all.
If this crime happened to you or your son, would you want this man as your pastor? It was only 30 years ago?
“Had accountability with someone in ministry the whole time.”
I think you mean “had someone covering his back the whole time.” Hell, Larry Anderson told him he shouldn’t even disclose to his own wife. That’s massively concerning, and is the exact opposite of accountability.
“A pastor who hides having raped and viciously abused a child probably does so because HE knows such wickedness should mean exclusion from the pastorate.”
The Apostle Paul murdered Christians with glee. Indeed, he stood by when Stephen was stoned to death. If anyone deserved “exclusion from the pastorate,” it was Paul.
Do you think those who sinned before they knew Christ should spend their lives wallowing in the past when Christ makes it clear the past is passed? Doesn’t the Bible say, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. … ” Romans 8:1.
Forgiveness means our sins are wiped out. Gone. Finito. Buried in the deepest part of the sea. Removed as far as the east is from the west…
We are not called to broadcast our past sins to the world. We are called to preach God’s forgiveness in Christ Jesus. Otherwise, who among us could stand?
Cynthia – good thoughts. I have written extensively on the issues with the network (at notovercome.org) but I actually agree that the question of whether or not Steve Morgan’s sin is permanently disqualifying is a tricky one. Let’s leave that aside for a moment.
Paul did the things you said he did (or at least endorsed those murders). But he wrote about his sins and used them as examples of God’s grace (Gal 1:23, Phil 3:6, 1 Tim 1:13). His friend Luke wrote about them in the book of Acts. Paul doesn’t wallow in it. He uses it as a testimony of God’s grace – a powerful one that has blessed Christians for ages (and in fact is serving that purpose even now as you bring it up as a good example!). What if all Christians stopped *ever* sharing about anything that they ever did? First, we’d be hiding the work of Christ to sanctify and forgive sinners. Second, so many other Christians would lose hope, thinking “there’s no way Christ could save me – I’ve never heard of a sinner as bad as me!” David does the same in Psalm 51, even committing to teaching God’s grace to others in verse 13.
Aside from that, Steve should have been a champion for safeguarding protocols with a unique perspective on what dangers exist. Finally, many were harmed to keep this secret (you can read my first-hand witness of this on my blog, dated July 8th).
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Perhaps your Biblical views concerning sin, forgiveness, and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit differ from my own.
Is this a sincere comment, Cynthia? Paul was a zealot for everything he did– the good, the bad and the ugly. Paul himself told on himself told on himself. Over and over and over again. He “outed” his own sins. He put himself “in the trenches” and literally gave all for Christ and counted all his loss as gain for glory of the Kingdom of God.
There is a very very good reason that Satan is called the Father of all lies. Notice he’s not called the father of all sexual idolaters. He’s not called the father of all murderers. It all starts on the foundation of a lie. And THAT is what this Network ministry was founded on.
Sorry, Cynthia. Forgiveness does not always mean welcome back to exactly what you want to do and what you were doing before you got caught.
The core issue is not forgiveness. The core issues here are repentance (which he may be repentant), accountability to and trust of his flock, not of his cadre of hand-picked yes men.
Thank you for your work, Roys Report. What you do is important for the health of the Church as a whole.
Man I’m torn on this. On one hand, it was a sin before he was a Christian. We’ve all done dumb things, both before and after salvation. And ultimately even the littlest sin is just as deserving of hell as the grievous ones. I’m not saying ignore it, but sins like this should be known to leadership and those that hold him accountable, and probably no one else. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
On the other hand, sins are equal to God but not equal in consequence in the eyes of man. No one would argue that this is the same as stealing $0.05 candy. It should have been made known to more leaders at more stages along the way. I still don’t know if public knowledge is right.
Beyond all this, there’s the overall story of cult-like behavior that may or may not be connected to his sin from decades ago. That definitely needs to be addressed and corrected.
To those who apparently don’t find anything wrong with an arrested Child rapist pedophile serving as a lead pastor, I have a few questions for you.
Assuming you have or have had young children, would you allow your children to attend a youth group if the youth group leader had a sexual criminal past like Morgan? Do you think it’s important for parents to know this youth leader’s past sins (which Christ has forgiven) so they can make an informed and safe decision for their families? Do you think the congregants of Morgan’s church deserves the same information so they can make the same decisions for their families?
Morgan’s first church employer in 1995 stated that Morgan did not disclose his sexual criminal background when he applied and was hired as pastor. It wasnt disclosed when Morgan asked to plant churches in college towns full of young impressionable men. It only came out, draped in lies about age and consent, after he broke away with the churches he planted to form his own Network, and this half truth was a closely held secret, kept from all the network Churches. This is why it’s so important and godly to disclose the full truth now.
“The 1994 Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Act, required states to implement a sex-offender registration program.”
Can you give me a full rundown of every one one of your sins? I need search history, arrest records, full transcript, daily journal and a catalog of every evil thought. Because by your standard we should all lead with that before I can trust a word you’ve said… where does it end. Yes the sin was grave but they observed him for years after becoming a Christian and judged his observable character above reproach when making him a pastor. And it doesn’t say he was ever a youth pastor in these churches.
35 years leading without a single sexual issue? Yeah I don’t care if he wants to be a lead pastor. He’s leading a good life. This is exactly the rehabilitation we should be celebrating. You don’t understand Jesus if you think you are so much better and deserve anything different than him for your sin.
Spoken like someone who gives everyone a pass on anything and everything. Jesus sure never did this. He spoke of men like this with many words of “Woe to You.” What a brood of vipers has been created. Stop defending what is evil and indefensible, please. Rapists do not belong in any position of power, anywhere, anytime.
“Jesus sure never did this…”
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
Is it possible you are confusing sin with the sinner? God abhors sin. That’s why he sent Jesus to help us and save us. Nobody can defend the actions of a rapist. Nobody. But that does not mean God cannot forgive those actions. He does because he loves the sinner, not the sin.
Hi, Cynthia, Forgiveness does not mean this man is fit for ministry. If he is truly repentant, he is forgiven by God. Other people, believers in Christ or not, can choose to forgive him. Christ calls Christians to forgive.
Waaaay too much spiritual abuse, and indeed physical and psychological abuse and gaslighting continue on, whether outside or inside the church, because people talk about forgiveness without understanding that it doesn’t always mean, “Welcome back to ministry and church planting.”
“Can you give me a full rundown of every one of your sins?”
This sin-leveling is one of the most important tools enablers use to maintain rape culture in our churches. It’s vile, and it’s not biblical. Jesus never said all sins are the same. The Torah certainly didn’t treat all sins as equal.
By equating child rape with, say, “every evil thought,” you make a mockery of justice by minimizing the most heinous of crimes.
I wonder if your view would be the same if he murdered someone. Or raped someone’s wife, daughter or mother. Or stole funds from the church. Or used the church building to hide evidence of crimes. Because what he did was use the church structure that he developed to hide behind.
Not all “misdeeds”, if you will, even though forgiven, warrant a return to ministry. And I think he and his circle of cronies know that or they would have grown their Network on a foundation of honesty rather than lies, secrecy, coverup and gaslighting their own members who had questions.
Thankful for some thorough writing on this cult. I was in this thing for over a decade.
I’m hearing from the smattering of people across the US who I still know in this thing that the shunning has started for those who are questioning things. Who knows what else they hid?
Many of the people in this are seemingly rational people. I was a seemingly rational person when I was involved. Everybody thinks getting into a cult won’t happen to them… but I fell for it.
All that to say, no shame in falling for something like this. But get out if you are able when you realize what it is.
When I left I was made to feel like my life was over and that I’d never have friends or a purpose the way I did inside the cult.
Now that it’s been the better part of a decade since I left I can see it for what it was. I’m so, so thankful I got out.
From the bottom of my heart: good riddance.
Sounds like this man was saved from awful sins. I’m thankful that Our Savior is the only one that can transform a man like this. The so-called Christians who are clearly perverted In their thinking have never experienced the grace and mercy of the cross and see the power of sin as greater. This is only because they have not experienced the cross.
I think it’s now time to investigate AL.
Can the real Ben Powers please stand up? Andre Lumpe is legit. The Network leaders are revealing their true abuse coming on here and acting like me. Truth is these guys are horrible people and their true intention is to destroy those who have been abused by Steve Morgan and crew. Let’s face it that’s what abusers do and this group in the Network will continue to work behind the scenes instead of running to God.
I’m not sure why we as people do not research where our Leaders come from and who put them in position there entire early years as collect genre on Church Abuse and exposing good old boy club system for years since religion is big business off the peoples time and money?
Look at the OVER 60 year horrific homosexual, pedophile, child molestation cover-up in Hillsong by the Assemblies of god (small g, gave you their god) which is Occult behavior of hiding sin. People weren’t judging fruit, at all. Example: One church grew up in parading around as Christian and Pentecostal when founded by Mormons, plus no Bible or Prayer modeled entire time either.
I don’t like or want my tithe money going to molest, rape, sodomize and murder children which have been addressing “Handbook of Denominations” for years on that endeavor and think it’s pretty sad when we have a Book with a satanic and or luciferian role call of Pastors listed and the Authors are not wrong.
Not to mention all the years it takes to crawl out of church abuse as agree with “coming out alive” article it takes years and it’s for our very lives. People talk about their churches and abusive leadership. I’ve had many Pastors share that big names, child rapist or butt raping of boys and this is the so called Church. No Denomination is clean, people are the church, NOT the building. I Peter 4:17
Definition of a cult:
So let me get this straight. An adult man, who was not actually a believer, but was a youth leader at a church, committed an act of sexual violence on a minor (apparently one that was under his care?) This man then went on to a career in ministry, and did not disclose his past criminal behavior to people with hiring and firing authority over him, or the the congregations he pastored. Now people are publicly saying that the organization he leads engages in manipulation, deception and circular “accountability.” Does this sound like a pattern of abuse of power to anybody else?
To the people who are arguing about whether or not this crime counts as a “disqualifying sin” and whether or not sins before salvation “count,” you are missing the point. This person LIED. For decades! Comparing him to Paul – I’m sorry, but that is nonsense. Paul’s sins, confessions, and repentance were all completely public. People got to make an informed choice about whether to accept him or not-and many didn’t! This individual did not give people in his sphere that choice. That in itself is an abusive use of power, albeit subtle. Please, stop trying to read a pattern of abuse as a story of redemption. Whatever else this is, it isn’t that.
It’s too bad this has hit the internet all these years later. Steve spoke to me shortly after he was released from his youth minister job and arrested. He had been a nanosecond from having oral sex with a boy in the youth group. The boy told his counselor who, rightfully so, told the church. When the board came to Steve about the allegation they told him they didn’t believe the kid but were required to question him. Steve had a way out!…if he had just lied. He couldn’t do that to the kid or his own integrity and painfully owned the situation. He also was honest with the police.
Steve became my lifelong hero for that. I’ve never met anyone so courageous. He knew what owning it would do to his reputation and here in this article, years later, it persists. It has to be incredibly painful for him. At that point in his life, Steve couldn’t accept he was gay. It was/is the sin of the Church for that.
While this blog may be valuable to out real predators, Steve certainly isn’t one of them. I was present in the history of this and knew the man well. He was trustworthy then and remains humble and faithful. The people of God need to be careful about which wagons they choose to hitch their judgements.
Lisa, what is amazing is that you think it’s ok for a 22 year old paid youth pastor to put a 15 year old minor boy in the situation. That is the very definition of sexual assault. And you bought the narrative that the perpetrator told you afterwards. Steve is not a hero or courageous, he was arrested for aggrevated sexual assault and accepted an agreement with the prosecutor. Painful for Steve? What about the 15 year old victim? Have you no empathy for him? This is not a gay or not issue. It’s one of abuse of power over a minor boy. Steve is not the victim here.
1. Your story hinges on the word of a man who sexually abused a 15yo boy. When he was that boy’s leader.
2. Even if you are right, he still sexually abused a 15yo boy he was leading.
3. And honesty? It’s expected. You don’t become a hero for not sinning.
4. And dozens, maybe hundreds now have been harmed in order to keep it secret, even though it was public record in Johnson County.
Where is the compassion for the boy? I haven’t seen it in any of the responses from the network. Only attacks on those who sought to be… honest.
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