Sex offender back in pulpit

Discussion in '2007 Archive' started by moondg, Aug 20, 2007.

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  1. moondg

    moondg
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    ROMEOVILLE | Despite prison term, preacher welcomed by Baptist congregation


    August 20, 2007
    BY SUSAN HOGAN/ALBACH Religion Reporter [email protected]

    A southwest suburban Southern Baptist congregation allowed a convicted child sex offender to preach for the last few years -- despite his past, and a warning from his previous church that he might still be dangerous, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
    In 1996, Jeff Hannah was sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexual relations with four underage girls -- ages 15 to 17 -- while a married youth minister at Crossroads Church in Libertyville.
    Hannah was paroled in 2001 and joined the First Baptist Church of Romeoville, where his new wife was a member. Soon after, the pastor moved on, and church members -- aware of Hannah's crimes -- asked him to step into the pulpit until a replacement was hired, according to church members, Hannah and others.
    » Click to enlarge image
    [​IMG]
    The First Baptist Church of Romeoville canceled Sunday services in the wake of the resignations including that of convicted sex offender Jeff Hannah (inset).
    (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

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    Hannah served in that role for three years and ever since has been a fill-in preacher, teacher and music minister at the church.
    'We believe in forgiveness'
    Authorities say there's no evidence that Hannah has re-offended -- and Hannah insists he has not -- but he abruptly resigned his membership in the congregation when a reporter started inquiring about him last week.
    "In our church, we believe in forgiveness," said Del Kirkpatrick, one of the deacons who hired Hannah.
    In talking to the Sun-Times last week, Hannah, 42, was unapologetic about his crimes, saying his first marriage had been troubled and he'd had "urges."
    "I honestly believe that had I been a college pastor, I'd slept with college girls," he said. "But I was a youth pastor. It was less about age and more about who I spent all my time with."
    The Rev. Steve Farish, pastor of Crossroads Church, which has relocated to Grayslake, said he considered Hannah so dangerous that he warned the Romeoville church and a regional Southern Baptist official.
    'The husband of one wife'
    "We thought he could still potentially be a danger to women and children," Farish said. "He was never repentant and never told the truth."
    Randie Bruno, the prosecutor in Hannah's case said, "He has the charisma to fool everybody."
    But Hannah led the Romeoville church until February 2006, when the Rev. Charles Hamby, a 54-year-old divorced pastor with financial troubles, was hired. When Hamby remarried a few months later, several church members left, including Kirkpatrick.
    "A pastor should be the husband of one wife," Kirkpatrick said.
    Hamby, who also knew of Hannah's past, allowed him to continue as a preacher and gave him even greater leadership roles. "The man ... paid his debt to society," Hamby said.
    Some in the congregation were upset by Hannah's role, but Hamby's remarriage was a bigger controversy, according to church officials. The feud bubbled over last week, when Hamby and Hannah abruptly resigned.
    "I just want to live my life," Hannah said.
    Activist outraged
    The future of the congregation remains uncertain. Sunday worship was canceled.
    With more than 16 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's largest Protestant denomination. Each congregation is autonomous. Under pressure from victims' groups, the SBC in June pledged to examine the possibility of creating a national database of clergy predators.
    Christa Brown, founder of StopBaptistPredators.org, was outraged that Hannah went from prison to the pulpit. "When Southern Baptists put perpetrators into positions of spiritual trust again, it sends the message that this denomination doesn't care about victims," Brown said.


    It just keeps getting worse. This is unbelievable.
     
  2. SBCPreacher

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    The Southern Baptist Convention doesn't put people in pulpits - churches do. Sounds to me like this guy had no business in any pulpit, but that is the choice of the individual church.
     
  3. bobbyd

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    One...this church has no business putting this perv in a position of influence or leadership what so ever.

    Two...sounds like it is also a hit piece on the SBC, possibly a bitter catholic (just a joke!)
     
  4. av1611jim

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    I believe the leadershipof this church may have been unwise in putting this man into a position of leadership, but it is none of my business since each church OUGHT to be autonomous.

    Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.
     
  5. D28guy

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    Maybe I'm missing something here, but didnt it say in the article that there is no evidence that he has re-offended?

    If he has changed his ways then those sins of the past have been cast as far as the east is from the west. Why do they choose to assume guilt where God has forgiven, and again....no evidence he has re-offended.

    He could very well be the man God has annointed to lead that group.

    Would they disqualify Paul...who was a murderer in the past?

    Mike
     
  6. moondg

    moondg
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    Hey I hear he is looking for a new Church. May be you could help him out. Maybe your church needs a new youth director.
     
  7. D28guy

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    My church doesnt have a youth director. Some of the men volutneer to work with the boys and the women with the girls.

    Regarding the original topic, it seems that many here simply do not believe that...

    1) A person can repent and grow.

    2) God is able to cleanse the repentant one and set him free.

    I'm glad there were no one like these here who were around after I was born again:

    "He was a doper...he'll always be a doper." (I have been set free of reefer, drugs, drink, and all the rest for 25 years now)

    "He'll surely go back to all that if given half a chance." (I never have, Praise God.)

    I'm glad I was around people of faith who believed that God could change someone from the inside out, and keep him that way.

    God bless,

    Mike
     
  8. Joe

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    If someone is a doper, then working in a place which sells marijuana parifinalia is not a good idea.

    If someone is an alcoholic, then it's best not to work as a clerk in a liquor store.


    If one was an adulterer, one might still need to answer to a spouse about our whereabouts or how he spent his day for a long while afterwards.


    We each have area's of weakness, even after repentance. When we are aware of our weaknesses, there is no reason to deliberately place ourselves in compromising positions. Sin has consequences which are not automatically eliminated just because we have suddenly repented. God gives us many choices regarding service and jobs.


    Joe
     
    #8 Joe, Aug 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2007
  9. D28guy

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    Joe,

    He wasnt working with the teen-agers. He was preaching from the pulpit during the Sunday service in lieu of the appointment of a pastor.

    Mike
     
  10. Joe

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    In 1996, Jeff Hannah was sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexual relations with four underage girls -- ages 15 to 17 -- while a married youth minister at Crossroads Church in Libertyville.
    "But I was a youth pastor. It was less about age and more about who I spent all my time with."

    "We thought he could still potentially be a danger to women and children," Farish said.




    This man has no business in any position of authority over teenagers or women. He could use this authority to exploit them, like he has in the past.

    He preyed upon FOUR separate teenage girls WHILE MARRIED to another woman WHILE serving as a youth minister.

    (Preaching is a position of authority) Sin has consequences not to be eliminated by repentance. Satan knows our area's of weaknesses, so we must do our best to avoid situations which will encourage our vices to rear their ugly heads.



    Joe
     
    #10 Joe, Aug 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2007
  11. Joe

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    Sounds like this guy could be used by God in a manner not to cause others to stumble or stumble himself. Maybe he could preach to the Promise Keepers (all men) about repentance and maintaining sexual purity.


    Joe
     
  12. Jack Matthews

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    Can you point to the passage of scripture which specifically teaches that a person who has repented and has been forgiven of their sin, and has not re-offended, is disqualified from ministry service in the church? It just doesn't seem to me that your view is consistent with the Bible's perspective related to salvation, forgiveness and grace.
     
  13. Joe

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    Read my last post. I never stated this guy was disqualified from ministry service in church.
     
  14. booklady

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    Where in the article did it say that he had repented?
     
  15. Joe

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    There is no indication of repentance unless you want to grasp at a strawman with the evidence that hasn't been prosecuted (caught) a fifth time.

    His own words indicate otherwise.


    Sorry, that wasn't a question directed at me so I shouldn't have replied

    Joe
     
    #15 Joe, Aug 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2007
  16. D28guy

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    Joe,

    So you are just ASSUMING that he...of course...will do it again. I'm sure it tickles God that you have such little confidence in His ability to deliver someone and set them free.

    And he suffered those consequences way back when he failed.

    I can guarentee you that I could stand in a liquor store all night with the drinkers sharing with them or on a street corner all night with a group of dopers smoking reefer while I am sharing with them and I wont slip up and participate. I'm not trying to be a braggart, but I'm just telling it like it is. I have no desire for drink, reefer or that lifestyle. I have been delivered.

    If I were getting ready to go out witnessing with some people at church, and someone said "Mike, we've decided we cant let you go because some of these people will be some old hippies who still smoke dope and you'll probably get hooked again if you go"...I would be INSULTED.

    I'm just very saddened to see christians so quick to believe the worst, rather than having confidence in Gods ability to set a child of His free.

    Mike
     
  17. D28guy

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    Booklady,

    Well, going back and reading it there is no clear statement to that effect. I guess I assumed it in that it seems to be implied in the part about how it is acknowledged that he has not re-offended.

    The main thing that got my dander up a little is the general tone of the majority on this thread...that being that of course if he is ever around teenagers again of course he will cheat on his wife again with the girls.

    It offends me to see Gods great power to deliver and change people so completly disregarded and disbelieved, particularly due to the fact that I have experienced His deliverance.

    Mike
     
  18. kubel

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    This man doesn't qualify to be a pastor. But I'm sure he can still receive forgiveness and serve in other areas, I just don't think it would be wise to appoint him as a person in leadership where he is in the position to fall again.

     
  19. Joe

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    I didn't state whether I felt he would re-offend. And please don't assume the negative that I have little confidence in god's ability.

    The bible it states wide is the path to destruction (hell), and many will go there yet few will find the narrow path to eternal life so I must believe this as truh. I don't judge him.

    [/QUOTE] And he suffered those consequences way back when he failed. [/QUOTE]
    So his suffering of the consequences of his sin is complete, says who???

    [/QUOTE] I can guarentee you that I could stand in a liquor store all night with the drinkers sharing with them or on a street corner all night with a group of dopers smoking reefer while I am sharing with them and I wont slip up and participate. I'm not trying to be a braggart, but I'm just telling it like it is. I have no desire for drink, reefer or that lifestyle. I have been delivered. [/QUOTE]

    I DO believe you. That is wonderful! I wish that would happen with a particular temptation of mine which keeps rearing it's ugly head.


    [/QUOTE] If I were getting ready to go out witnessing with some people at church, and someone said "Mike, we've decided we cant let you go because some of these people will be some old hippies who still smoke dope and you'll probably get hooked again if you go"...I would be INSULTED. [/QUOTE]

    I would be insulted too. But if your former Pastor recommended you not be around people in the future who smoke weed because he felt you had not repented, and you stated publicly to a Journalist you were unapologetic concerning your past sins of smoking weed, then I would hope you would have patience and understanding with others who care enough about you to recommend you not minister to THIS particular group of people.


    [/QUOTE] I'm just very saddened to see christians so quick to believe the worst, rather than having confidence in Gods ability to set a child of His free. Mike[/QUOTE]

    Again, I don't believe the worst about this guy so please don't assume the worst about me. I have confidence in God.
    Believe it or not, I think I understand where you are coming from. Sorry but I can't seem to get the quote boxes working properly.
    Tickles God? That wording made me crack up :)
    Joe
     
    #19 Joe, Aug 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2007
  20. D28guy

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    Joe,

    You are putting a "slant" in the front quote box and also the last quote box. The slant... / ...only goes in the last one.

    Like this...

    [ quote ] all the quoted material here [ / quote]

    (With no spaces of course)

    Hope that helps! :thumbs:

    God bless,

    Mike
     
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