On Steve Brown

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113 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    I regret that this scandal has caused you pain Michael. I just learned of who Steve Brown is a week or so ago when I watched a sermon posted here. He is a talented preacher. I Love the quotes of his that you posted above, especially the one about making sure our heroes are all long dead.

  2. covered says:

    I hate those times when I find myself in a place that makes me choose between enabling a friend in trouble or doing what’s right. The latter is always the hardest and this is a case where the test was failed. I don’t always pass this test myself but we should be warned of the collateral damage when making the wrong decision. I am sorry Michael that you saw Steve’s warts. I hope that you never see mine.

  3. Tim - Doulos says:

    Michael –
    I’ve not followed Brown like you have, but I know what it’s like to have a hero stumble so badly. I’m sorry for what you’re going through, and I’m praying for you.

  4. Pam Kulwiec says:

    The things he said/taught that changed your life are still valid and are not negated because of the current circumstance. God’s truths are always true. That he uses sinful, failed people like us to deliver these truths is a great mysterious miracle…

  5. Paige says:

    I’m sorry Michael. I have prayed for you concerning this matter over the weekend.
    The issue deeply disturbs me for personal reasons, as you can imagine.
    Protecting the ‘crew’ to save the ‘ship’ seems to override wisdom at times.

  6. Em - again says:

    Pam, to quote Michael’s turn of phrase, nailed it – IMV

  7. Xenia says:

    You can still love him. You can still admire him and look up to him. He stumbled but he has not become an enemy, just one of the rest of us sinners. He is not sinless because he is not Christ. Forgive him and think the best of him.

  8. Xenia says:

    I imagine he weighed the options and at the time thought he was making the right choice for the benefit of that church. Wrong, but probably he had good intentions.

  9. Em - again says:

    FWIW … there are many men who have strayed, been confronted by friends and cleaned up their act to continue on as men of integrity, lovers of family to the very end of their days … and their wives never knew of their sin … not trying to make anyone paranoid… it is possible that T pulled the wool over their eyes, is it not?

    our goal should be to love God with all our hearts and minds and souls – not that easy to do IMX, but it does get our hearts in a much safer place, does it not? then when our neighbors let us down, break our hearts, we run to God for comfort

    still, perhaps, Brown will ask forgiveness, if he did indeed cover and enable sin to continue

    but Pam’s #4 IS the bottom line for all of us

  10. Xenia says:

    Love covers a multitude of sins.

  11. Michael says:

    Thanks for the kind words.
    The churches I grew up in knew little of grace…and that is Browns specialty.
    He, more than anyone else, taught me how deep and broad and dare I say, exciting, that the Bible properly taught was.

    He has always stood by people that no one else would…even outside his own tradition.
    I will always be grateful for his teaching.

    I mourn that he now has a public blemish that reflects not just on him, but his teaching, and the church itself.
    I will choose to believe that he is a godly man who made a large mistake.
    I will thank God that I am not subject to such scrutiny…

  12. Em - again says:

    “Make sure all your heroes in the faith are long dead.
    You will already know all the dirt on them.” … good words

    there are many people in my memory that are heroes to me, not because of how good they ever were, but because of what they did with what they had as they faced life’s problems

    we have the man Jesus Christ – the Name above all names as our ultimate hero, isn’t He enough?

  13. pstrmike says:

    We all want heroes. It’s in our nature to desire them. I’ve never had a hero that could maintain their place on the pedestal. Perhaps that’s why I’m an iconoclast by nature, I recognize that people are too invested in false hopes and dreams. I want to show people the futility of their emotional investment, to avoid being disappointed or having their faith shipwrecked when things go bad. But heroes bring a sense of comfort and stability. They help some of us from feeling so all alone. We all want heroes.

  14. Michael says:

    “But heroes bring a sense of comfort and stability. They help some of us from feeling so all alone. ”

    Yes…

  15. Jeff Sheckstein says:

    sorry you had to see the wizard come out from behind the curtain. It sure stumbled me when I saw the “real PC.” My prayers r with you. Let’s hope he does a Gayle Irwin.

  16. Chief of Sinners says:

    I was curious to see if and how Steve Brown would respond to this firestorm. I see he has pout up a blog post this morning:

    http://www.keylife.org/articles/my-response-to-recent-reports-on-tullian

    Likely this statement will be deemed inadequate and only server as further blood in the water for the feeding frenzy.

    I’m glad he put this post up. I believe his statement that Tuliian did not follow his advice and appreciate that he left it at that without throwing him overvoard. Steve Brown obviously loves Tullian and has been deeply grieved over this, as was demonstrated when this incident was made public last year: http://www.keylife.org/articles/the-warrior-is-a-child

  17. gomergirl says:

    I don’t do heroes, because they fall. I love Steve, I have learned form him and been touched by his teaching. As I have Brennan Manning, and dare I say it, I even learned from Driscoll (back in the day before he was a full-blown whack-a-doodle) I love sports too, Montoya, Fittipaldi, Spitz, Brett. I like some political types too (Rand, Condi Rice, some more obscure)
    But I do not have heroes, because they fall. They take drugs to help them cope, they are unfaithful because they feel lonely, they lie to cover their shame, they are filled with pride because everyone tells them how great they are. But, at the end of the day, they are just folks. Like you and me. Vulnerable to the same temptation and hurt. Choose wisely those you will follow. And never think that they are better than you are.

  18. gomergirl says:

    Wow, thanks Chief. (#16) What he wrote. It says it all for me. I wish it would be enough for those looking to tear down, but I know it will not be. I hope those lashing out in their hurt will bind comfort and peace before they ruin more lives.

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Because someone falls / fails does not negate their message – especially if the message was from God.
    I am in the process of downloading Tullian’s messages before they get taken down April 1st – what he says is good and true teaching and he just proves that a sinner can get it right.

    The same applies to Steve Brown.

  20. Michael says:

    That statement is completely consistent with everything he has said and done for the almost thirty years that I have known of him.

  21. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think Steve Brown’s response is a completely adequate explanation for giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  22. Laura Scott says:

    “The church really isn’t a very safe place.” Steve Brown’s statement speaks volumes about our reality in and out of church.

    Sin would be much more unpalatable if we allowed ourselves to be acquainted with the sacred.

  23. Michael says:

    Twenty some years ago a very large Assembly of God church had a major pastoral scandal in the same town as Brown.
    The pastor ended up sentenced to 45 years in prison.
    Steve Brown was the only local pastor at his sentencing.
    He’s never been afraid to get his clothes stained with other peoples dirt…because he believes in grace.
    He will wear this dirt as well.

  24. Xenia says:

    If Steve Brown considers himself to be TT’s confessor, then he has done the right thing and you all should admire him more than ever. As someone who participates in formal confession to my priest several times each month, there has to be the understanding that whatever you confess in the presence of your confessor is safe between you, your confessor, and God.

    I knew there was a good explantion. 😊

  25. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    He has been a lot of peoples confessor.
    His statement is enough for me…because I know he has consistently acted in this way before.
    It will not be enough for many others…and I understand that too.

  26. Kevin H says:

    As long as there is not more to the story where we find out factual things about Steve Brown’s involvement in this that he’s chosen not to divulge and would reflect poorly on him, then I am okay with this.

  27. pstrmike says:

    Many of us has been another’s confessor. Aside from things like child/spousal abuse, I keep the secrets of those who has confessed their sins to me. The only reason why people confess anything to me is because they need to deal with their sin and they know I will keep their confidence. My state recognizes as such, and affords clergy priveledge on such matters.

    This is very different than some one who is not contrite and simply gets caught.

  28. Paige says:

    I deeply appreciate Steve’s response. http://www.keylife.org/articles/my-response-to-recent-reports-on-tullian

    Now I can go on with my day and not drag my ball and chain around.

  29. Mr Jesperson says:

    I learned a long time ago not to place men up on pedestals. While the men were not famous, they crashed big time by doing things that are vile. Since then nothing surprises me. The time when I saw God working the most in a church was when I was under the worst pastor I ever had. No way that Pastor can take credit for what happened. God did what He did in spite of the man in charge. And I recognize that He still does. God has even used me to do some good. I can not take credit for it, for I am not good. Let Jesus be our hero. All the rest, both dead and still alive, are not fit to tie his shoes. Let God speak through whomever He wants. Sometimes they will not even be Christians. Give God the credit and not the ass (think Balaam) He uses as a medium.

  30. Nonnie says:

    I think what bothers me was that the original article stated that Steve Brown advised TT NOT to tell his church or wife. Or did I get that wrong?

    Now Brown is saying that TT didn’t take his advice. I guess I’m confused.

    Everything in me wants to trust Steve Brown. I’m just not understanding the story.

  31. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    I think thats a valid question…the article was not completely clear on who said what to who.
    The only person that could clear that up is TT…and my guess is that he won’t.

  32. CostcoCal says:

    I wept some months ago when Tullian was exposed. I wept more than once.
    I’d never done that for a fallen minister before. That is how it affected me.
    So for Brown to be linked to this and cause you this angst… I understand.

  33. Brandon says:

    Your comment #23 is beautiful Michael. Regardless of this blemish/problem/whatever it is- that he would be there for another pastor from such a different tradition speaks volumes.

  34. Michael says:

    Brandon,

    Many years ago when this blog was doing huge numbers, one of the online discernment guys wrote some scathing articles about Steve’s ministry.

    I wrote Steve and asked him to let me at ’em…I was going to tear them up.

    He told me that such wouldn’t be necessary…that if they knew the whole truth about him they’d really be mad.

    This is who he is…even if he’s wrong this time.

  35. Em - again says:

    reading this thread – it makes me angry in a way – we have so many in the Church today who see themselves as fulfilling a hero role – the pretense! – the presumption!
    show us Jesus, that’s our hero

    i think the last hero – real comic-book-grade hero that i had on a pedestal was Roy Rogers… 🙂 i outgrew heroes at a very young age, i guess – dunno – although, after becoming a Believer – to be honest – i did have to learn that Ministers of the Gospel weren’t a cut above, for the most part – now i respect very much the ones who know what they’re there for

  36. Nonnie says:

    Titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

    1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

    Why is it that in so many churches ignore or make excuses about and the 2nd verse is of the utmost importance and even used in their mission statement.

  37. Steve Wright says:

    Some of the reports about this incident are inaccurate or skewed. My default position is to defend, correct, and admonish. However, going into details about what is true and what isn’t is a place of self-defense I don’t want to go.
    ——————————————————————————-
    Steve Brown’s words here could be stamped on so many things known to a pastor…and only the pastor.

    I can relate to that “default position” he expresses here. The discipline is to carry out the last sentence – and not “go there”

    Well stated.

  38. Nonnie says:

    Sorry….that should be

    Why is it that in so many churches ignore THE FIRST VERSE or make excuses about AND YET the 2nd verse is of the utmost importance and even used in their mission statement.

  39. Michael says:

    Em,

    In a way pastors are supposed to be heroes, supposed to be a cut above.
    We’re not.
    Maybe that’s the secret we really need to speak.

    I’m doing a whole chapter on this in my book…which I have to get back to right now. 🙂

  40. Em - again says:

    i read Steve Brown’s response and i can only 100% say ‘amen’ brother

  41. Em - again says:

    God keep you, Michael, safe and comforted through all of this

  42. Nonnie says:

    Michael’s 34….Amen

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    “In a way pastors are supposed to be heroes, supposed to be a cut above.”

    I don’t want my pastors or leaders to be sinless or flawless – actually I don’t want them to be even close.
    Can you imagine what it would be like if they were – I mean if they could actually pull it off? Then we would be responsible to do the same.

    I just want them to be repentant … daily

  44. Babylon's Dread says:

    I knew if we waited and got more testimony this would clarify. Steve Brown was privy to a confession in private that he kept private. That is good enough for me.

    I am not sure I would have done the exact same but I have NO issue with his actions.

    Michael I would ask you to post the link to Key Life in the article above and more people will see it. Enemies of Steve will be happy to smear his name. We do not want that.

    Brown acted as a priest and his actions are easily justified.

  45. Papias says:

    If you believe in grace, you have to assume that people are going to mess up.

    Steve’s response is entirely consistent with his own position.

    Also, he had a chance to throw TT under the bus, and didn’t do it.

  46. Cash says:

    As I read Steve’s response, I don’t quite understand what he did wrong. He said he acted as a confessor which would require him to keep confidentiality, but then he said he watched as others went through the Matthew 18 process. Sounds like a perfectly plausible explanation to me.

  47. Babylon's Dread says:

    Cash,

    Brown’s response was published after this was posted, I think. The consensus here is that your observation is correct. I am sure there are some who would say the compelling interest of truth in the church outweighed his call to silence but most will agree he acted appropriately.

  48. Xenia says:

    Not everybody believes in the confidentiality of the confessional, especially informal confessionals as in the case of some types of Protestantism. Some evangelical types do not believe in confessors at all- just confess to God, they believe. These folks may not find Steve Brown’s explanation satisfying, they may see it as using a “vain tradition of man” as an excuse not to reveal what TT told him.

  49. Xenia says:

    In fact, I think I remember several people, either here or on a linked article, telling that they confessed things to their pastor and he did not keep it confidential. These pastors probably did not come from churches that had the tradition of confessing one’s sins to a confessor and did not realize the seriousness of what they did. The people who had this experience claimed pastoral abuse, and I would agree.

  50. Babylon's Dread says:

    Oh and Michael,

    The not so subtle use of Steve’s tag line was appreciated.

  51. Steve Wright says:

    First, I’ve been a sort of father figure to Tullian as well as his confessor. I gave Tullian a lot of advice that he didn’t take (but then it’s not uncommon for people to ignore my advice).
    ———————————————————
    This is the key to me. If someone comes to the pastor and confesses some sin and the pastor encourages them they need to do something (i.e. like step down from ministry for example) and the person refuses to do so then the pastor sure can’t blackmail the guy into doing what he refuses to do voluntarily. Call it counsel, call it confession, call it whatever you want but that is the bottom line. It remains secret.

    I do think Xenia conflates two issues under the umbrella of “confession” here in her remarks about us evangelicals, but don’t want to derail the thread away from the issue at hand.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wonder though, say in the case of Bob Coy – if it turns out it was known in the church leadership. This is a good example in reverse – since Tullian’s brother is a pastor at Bob Coy’s old church, if it came out that he knew Coy was dipping his pen in another guy;s inkwell, but he said “yes, Bob confessed it to me but I didn’t say anything because I was his confessor” — would that have been bought?

    I think we are better to just say that Brown and the elders stepped in a pile of it, track it into the house and made a big mistake.

    Let’s allow these guys like Brown to have flaws … even large ones.

  53. Michael says:

    Boz Tchividjian ‏@BozT 7m7 minutes ago

    Self-appointed confessors with no formal authority can contribute to the covering up of offenses & the pains of the offended. #dangerous

  54. Em - again says:

    stop and think a minute, if your pastor does not keep a confidence, why on earth would you go to him with a problem?
    oh how it must chafe to be that wife who was the last to know, but most times, i think she does know and is biding her time – the pastor or his wife might ask how she’s doing and let her know that they love her, but it sure isn’t the pastor’s job to tell her that hubby is cheating without some pretty extenuating circumstances … IMHO … again

  55. Xenia says:

    Steve, I was not intending to cast dispersions upon “you evangelicals,” I was explaining how it could be that people from churches without the tradition of formal confession might not be satisfied with Steve Brown’s explanation.

  56. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Steve is getting hammered online and a lot of it is because there is little understanding of this in evangelicalism, in my opinion.
    I may or may not agree with how he handled this, but he’s taught the same thing for 30 years that I know of…

  57. Babylon's Dread says:

    Point me in the direction of the hammering … I want to take a look …

  58. Michael says:

    Twitter… just search for Dr. Steve Brown.
    TT’s brother just kicked him hard as well… see #55

  59. Babylon's Dread says:

    The healthy interaction here is to vet the question.

    In this case knowing what you know who would tell and who would not?

    I would not have outed him but I would not have let him get beyond the revelations about his wife without facing his own failure. I have too few facts to say for sure but my thought is that his wife’s infidelity would not have gone public without my forcing his hand to own his own sin.

    I am not sure I have the timeline clear.

  60. Michael says:

    BD,

    I tend to agree with you.
    Frankly, I think TT leveraged his relationship with the old guy in many ways…and I suspect I would hit him hard in his mouth should the opportunity arise.

  61. I still think it is a grave error to try to hide the rough edges of our leaders. People try to do this with Jesus all the time – they can’t believe the awful things he said to people and the folks he told to go to hell right to their faces … they try to sand down the rough edges and make him appear to be what he is not.

    Steve Brown I am sure can take the knocks. But how much can the pastor confess to you before you put your foot down?

  62. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I think you have a point that needs considered with all the rest here.

  63. Babylon's Dread says:

    MLD,

    We need a book about the PC horror named Jesus

  64. Wasn’t it CS Lewis who said of Jesus “He is not a tame God.” ?
    If not, you can ascribe that comment to me 😉

  65. London says:

    C.S. Lewis said Aslan was not a tame lion.
    Almost, but not quite, the same thing MLD.

  66. Em - again says:

    i like the idea of a book that debunks the PC Jesus… some here could write it, i think
    but does our Lord have “rough” edges or hard edges? either way they’re not yielding to our refinement – ugh, what an embarrassing thought

    again i’m indebted here to all Michael’s commenters – a great deal of church true wisdom turns up on these threads – and i am encouraged

    God keep

  67. Andrew says:

    This isn’t solely about confession but about trust and friendship. Steve is a good guy. If he violated TT’s trust by revealing his sin and gossiping to others where is the trust? That would be huge sin in my book. Steve didn’t have any authority over TT and had no obligation to reveal another man’s sin to others in the church . I’m not disappointed. I am actually a bigger fan now of Steve than I was before. Trust is hard to come by now and Steve has demonstrated he can be trusted even with your darkest secrets. Thank you Steve in demonstrating what trust is. If TT could never trust you, not sure he would ever get the healing he needs. It looks like he is finally at that point now. Don’t have regrets for being loyal to your friend.

  68. j2theperson says:

    ***oh how it must chafe to be that wife who was the last to know, but most times, i think she does know and is biding her time – the pastor or his wife might ask how she’s doing and let her know that they love her, but it sure isn’t the pastor’s job to tell her that hubby is cheating without some pretty extenuating circumstances***

    In this day and age of rampant sexually transmitted diseases, I don’t think you need more extenuating circumstances than the basic infidelity itself. Every time a person has sex with their spouse after having slept with someone else, they are potentially putting them at risk of contracting an STD. A spouse should be warned about that so that they can get tested and stop engaging in behavior that has now become risky to their health.

  69. openeyes says:

    I must be in the minority here. I think Steve Brown’s post did nothing but confuse the whole thing more. Sorry if that offends some here. Probably would have been better to not say anything then make vague comments. Course the one lady is talking about legal action so maybe that is why Brown is vague. I don’t know.

    The Bible is clear how we handle a brother in sin. Seems to me that no one followed the book but followed their friendships. If Brown was not in a position to deal with this then why was he even there? I just don’t get why Coral Ridge didn’t handle this whole thing properly. They had the authority to do it and kept passing the buck to someone that didn’t have that authority. We shouldn’t sugar coat it even though our heart strings are involved. I think that those that don’t have a pony in this race are the best to investigate it thoroughly.

    I really feel for Tullian’s Ex wife to be honest. Can’t imagine the pain of finding out your husband cheated years ago and the folks you thought were your friends in leadership betrayed you be covering it up. How in the world could these men look that woman in the face knowing they were lying all this time? Maybe all these years she thought it was her and beat herself up for not measuring up as a wife. Now she comes to find out that her husband’s inattentiveness was his problem and not hers. To be honest we have no proof she ran around except Tullian’s word and so far he has not been honest about much, has he?

  70. J.U. says:

    Michaels quote at the start of this discussion really hit me when I read it. He said, “I will thank God that I am not subject to such scrutiny…”

    Wow, that is something to think about. I believe the Bible teaches that pastors, preachers, teachers, shepherds — whatever term is applied to those that stand up in front of others to guide and direct other’s faith have a special and additional responsibility. As representatives of Christ, they are held to a higher level of responsibility.

    Yet we are all fallen people who must live each day to our best with the help of the Holy Spirit and the certain knowledge that their sins are already forgiven and paid for on the cross so long ago. Grace is our insurance policy, but it is not permission to drive recklessly.

    But I am glad that I am only responsible for my own life and actions, and not the life and actions of any followers or a congregation. It is a tougher standard, and only those truly prepared should apply.

    Sort of reminds me what I’ve heard and thought many times about running for public office. Seems you need to be some kind of masochist to take on all the scorn, loathing, and gossip that follows public figures, although some of it may be justified. Never mind “let he is without sin cast the first stone.” Woe to he that is NOT without sin and falls into the public eye. I’ll just keep my little anonymous life, thank you.

  71. Andrew says:

    If Brown was not in a position to deal with this then why was he even there?
    _________________________________________________________________________

    My thoughts are, Steve was there because TT trusted him. Maybe a “Don’t ask Don’t tell” policy would be more suitable for sinners in the church. However my Bible says we are to confess our sins (not someone else’s sins) to one another.

  72. Josh the Baptist says:

    This tangential destruction is where things always get weird for me. I am all for tarring the guy who cheated on his wife, but not his associates.

    If a friend confessed to me (and I have had similar situations occur) that he cheated on his wife, I would not run and tell her. I would berate him. I would implore him to come clean. If the behavior continued, unrepentantly, we would no longer be friends. But no, I wouldn’t snitch on him. Not my place.

  73. j2theperson says:

    I would not describe any of the concerns voiced regarding Steve Brown’s behavior as “tangential destruction”.

    I, personally, find his statement to be mostly adequate and his actions understandable. There are, however, one thing specifically that I find very concerning specifically and another thing I find somewhat concerning in general.

    1. The Christian Post article says that when the two elders and Steve Brown confronted TT they specifically advised him to not tell his wife right away. That seems really wrong. He should have been encouraged to come clean to her as soon as possible.

    2. I disagree, at least mildly, with the idea that when a person has a friend confess that they’re having an affair that you have no obligation to responsibility to inform the spouse who is being cheated on. Yes, you should encourage your friend to be the one to come clean, but I’m not convinced that it’s appropriate to just remain silent if your cheating friend remains silent because there are a lot of health issues that the non-cheating spouse is being opened up to that they deserve to know about. Getting stuck with an STD because your spouse is a sleazeball and your spouse’s friend doesn’t care about or respect you enough to let you know you were facing this risk isn’t cool.

  74. Captain Kevin says:

    What Steve Brown has written about the situation is exactly what I would expect from him. I admire that.

  75. Michael says:

    I don’t know why Steve being there should be a problem for anyone.
    If I got in big trouble, the person I consider my pastor would be in the loop immediately.

    Steve was pretty clear that this didn’t go the way he believed it would and would do some things differently upon reflection.

    The two elders have been removed from their places of authority.
    Steve had no authority and seems to have assumed that people were doing the right things.
    That was a poor assumption to make.

    What I see here is the human factor has been completely removed from the discussion in favor of a template that no one has yet defined,but that demands a pound of Steve’s flesh to satisfy.

  76. j2theperson says:

    ***What I see here is the human factor has been completely removed from the discussion in favor of a template that no one has yet defined,but that demands a pound of Steve’s flesh to satisfy.***

    I feel like we’re reading different threads. It appears to me that pretty much everybody here has been understanding of Steve and mild in their criticism of/disagreement with him. Who has demanded a pound of his flesh?

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But we are not just talking about some guy coming up and confessing his sin – especially a sin that would / could disqualify for the office (versus confessing to smoking behind the barn) – we are talking about the Senior Pastor and one who may even be the Chairman of the Board of the church both spiritually and as a corporation..

    Here is a question – did the board have a right to know, and did these 3 guys circumvent that process?

    Had TT come out and confessed to being a homosexual, I will bet this would have played out completely differently.

  78. Michael says:

    j2,

    This is not the only site talking about this…there are some pretty harsh critics out there.

  79. Michael says:

    MLD,

    It’s a fair question…the two elders certainly had that responsibility.

  80. Kevin H says:

    If Steve Brown had advised Tullian to keep things covered, then that is a serious problem. From the original Christian Post article, it sounded like that accusation might be getting made (although the article was poorly and unclearly written and it was difficult to delineate some of the details).

    However, if Brown didn’t advise him to cover up, then I don’t think there is a big deal here. As has already been stated here, Brown admitted that he should have pushed Tullian harder and not made assumptions about who really knew what about the story. Tullian came to Brown, his friend and mentor, to privately confess. Brown held no position of authority over Tullian or within the churches Tullian was serving.

    If it is true that Brown didn’t tell Tullian to cover up, then any arguments about Brown being a problem in this whole thing should be way down on the list of responsible parties. Tullian is at the very top and the two elders hold a pretty high position, too.

  81. Em - again says:

    J2’s #70 is a very germane, very vital point … yes

    now what does a pastor do? it would seem that all infidelity falls into the category of an extreme risk…

    (maybe, i should read the rest of the thread – maybe the question has been answered 🙂 )

    praying for the folks in Belgium (including those Mormon kids)

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve Brown must just be getting soft in his old age. Even after knowing of the TT sins he still worked with TT on the Liberate conferences.

    Now Last month, he spoke at the Christ Hold Fast conference that was headed by Daniel Emery Price, who has the exact same issue as TT.

    Steve Brown needs to invest $100 in background checks before accepting speaking engagements 😉

  83. Michael says:

    To be honest, I should disqualify myself from this conversation.
    I’ve had too much positive history with Brown for too long.
    sometimes you have to recuse yourself…

  84. Em - again says:

    i remember an incident from long years ago that might work here…
    the pastor, upon hearing such a confession as is under discussion here, could perhaps tell the erring spouse to go home, confess and get to work on the problem and if i don’t hear from your spouse by this time tomorrow, i’ll call them…

    upon reflecting, i must agree with MLD… such behavior from a pastor = r e s i g n, not finesse, not finagle, not rationalize … put your sorry tail between your legs and get out from behind that pulpit… take a seat in the front row, down there with the rest of the sinners

  85. Jean says:

    “Had TT come out and confessed to being a homosexual, I will bet this would have played out completely differently.”

    It appears that there may continue to be a “boys will be boys” mentality within the male dominated church leadership.

    I don’t know the facts of the specific relationships involved, but I would like to raise two general principles:

    (1) If you are a “friend” of two spouses and one of them confesses their infidelity to you, if you cannot persuade the adulterer to come clean to his/her spouse, then IMO you have a duty of loyalty to the victim spouse to expose the infidelity.

    (2) If you are a pastor at a church, and you are the pastor of both spouses, you should IMO make it clear to anyone you are counselling or hearing confession from that you will not keep secrets from a spouse (also under your pastoral care) who is being victimized by the other spouse.

  86. Em - again says:

    #85 – stay strong Michael – FWIW – this issue doesn’t mean that one can’t love and honor the man – you knew that he was a man, a God loving and gracious man with a gift, but not infallible … from what i see on TV, there’s a chance that he might even have toenail fungus 🙂

  87. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    No need to back away – Steve Brown can still be a great man / leader – and everything he says be true to scriptural teaching.

    He erred – big deal – he takes his lumps for a couple of days and we all move on.

    Just remember, probably by mid next week someone else will step in a big pile of it and Brown will be old news.

  88. Em - again says:

    “It appears that there may continue to be a “boys will be boys” mentality within the male dominated church leadership.” i don’t think that’s true of all – but it is certainly there and has been for who knows how long? too many of these fellows think that they are chick magnets – don’t they learn that in seminary? but we can’t let the “girls” off the hook here

  89. Em - again says:

    #89 – it does seem hard to avoid “stepping in it” in today’s world

  90. Michael says:

    I love the guy and I have for a very long time…and I always will.
    I would never have been in ministry and maybe not even a Christian without his ministry.

    There is a back story that I can’t really tell…but many, many years ago Brown and some professors and students at Reformed Theological Seminary made it possible for an absolute nobody in Oregon to get a semblance of a theological education for free.

    When CC gave me the right foot of fellowship it was Brown that kept me from going over the edge.

    The most common emails we’ve received in the history of this blog are questions about becoming a Lutheran and thanks for introducing someone to the ministry of Steve Brown.

    I should treat him like anyone else we write about…but I can’t.

  91. Em - again says:

    “I should treat him like anyone else we write about…but I can’t.” FWIW, i don’t think that you should treat him “like anyone else” … you know him well enough to know that a mistake (or whatever label fits here) is not the character of the man … and you’ve helped me and i suspect many others sort through this – you have a debt to the man that you can’t repay (we all have someone of whom that is true, i hope) and you are IMHO defending him in a good and honorable way

    just sayin – cuz i can 🙂

  92. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I should treat him like anyone else we write about…but I can’t.”

    Good for you. You have a heart.

  93. Michael says:

    Sometimes you just can’t be unbiased.
    Thus, you should admit it and walk on.
    Virtually everything I know, think, teach, and do as a Christian goes back to something Brown either taught me or reinforced that I learned elsewhere.
    I’ll just be grateful as can be for that and pray the best for the man.

  94. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yep. And Brown considered Tullian a friend, so you see the issue. Again, this is why I always try to keep my guile aimed at the actual offender, and not at those who just happen to be around the situation.

  95. j2theperson says:

    For what it’s worth, Michael. Most of the other people you write about have done bad things and made bad choices as a result of bad motivations. Steve Brown seems to have responded badly to this situation but to have done so with basically decent/good motivations.

  96. T.M. says:

    How is adultery NOT spousal/child abuse?

    Betrayal by husband/father followed by betrayal by church cover-up — brutal blows for a family to absorb.

    Are we expecting the affected families to be super human? I wouldn’t be.

  97. Michael says:

    I don’t know where you would get that notion.
    We wouldn’t expect anything but that the families would be shattered.

  98. Babylon's Dread says:

    We do want our pound of flesh.

  99. Disillusioned says:

    In all of these comments, I have not seen this basic tenet of Christianity addressed:

    If your brother sins, go to him. If he doesn’t repent, take it to more people. If he still doesn’t repent, take it to the church.

    I believe that is the gist of Matthew 18. In this case, they did NOT follow it.

  100. Josh the Baptist says:

    None of us were there to go through that process.

  101. Disillusioned says:

    Obviously. But those who WERE there had a biblical responsibility to do so.

    It is my understanding that this never went to the church …

  102. Em - again says:

    i seem to remember that there were those at Coral Ridge with some measure of influence who were opposed to TT’s call to pastor their church and continued in opposition after the fact and they were labeled as trouble makers? if that was the case, the church was already in a state of what my camp would have labeled as “reversion” …

    TT did what i found to be some excellent teaching on grace, but what seems to need to be better defined is accountability? the church reflects the times … put the best spin on everything … that is not grace, is it?
    i think that is being “willfully blind” – dunno

  103. Babylon's Dread says:

    Disillusioned,

    I would say Matt 18 was followed by the people who mattered. The pastor and his wife sinned against one another. They were were dealt with by each other and by the church.

    Later, TT was found to have covered up … wow there’s a shock… He got rehired on false pretenses and fired as soon as it was discovered.

    This matter was handled far better than most. Sin, exposure, was there repentance? no, not really but the married couple judged each other and administered punishment… the church reacted in pretty decent fashion.

    The whole thing got blown up because Steve Brown didn’t rat out the pastor soon enough. Where is Al Pacino when you need him “I’ll take a flamethrower to this place!” The church is not a ‘rat ship’ Steve Brown tells everyone that he listens to confessions and keeps confidences. As soon as we catch him we call him self-appointed, we shame him for doing exactly as he claims.

    The disillusionment for me is the need for us to feel justified that we APPROVE of how stuff is handled. Horse hockey!

    This is a case where people did better than is being allowed. This is a case where grace and truth were both served. This is a case where we need to shut our fat faces and thank God that we haven’t fallen into the hands of an angry passion week mob.

  104. Disillusioned says:

    BD, respectfully disagree, and here’s why: I think you are referring to the 2nd (?) affair in which TT was engaged. The first (?) one seems to be years before that, and it seems there were those who knew of his spiritual state but didn’t speak up. And that wouldn’t be necessary if it’s just a friend to friend confession that doesn’t affect anyone else. But many, many others are involved because TT is someone who taught the Word of God. And because of TT’s position/fame/connections, he was allowed skip that last crucial step early on, and those who knew of it should have taken it to the church if TT would not repent.
    It seems no one wants to answer for their part in allowing TT to continue as a pastor long after he should have stepped down, years ago.

  105. Josh the Baptist says:

    I more agree with BD. We should have problems with exactly one person in this case. The one who cheated on his wife. The rest are innocent bystanders.

  106. Babylon's Dread says:

    Dis,

    Years ago?

    Like I said in another place, I may not have followed Dr Brown’s path but he has been consistent on the matter.

    I agree that TT should have stepped down. I would have and am on record stating as much since my thirties.

    No heroes in the story that is for sure

  107. Alan says:

    @ comment #24,

    Xenia, I am very, very familiar with the Orthodox Church. Are you telling me that if I went to an O priest, and confessed that I was having an affair, the priest would not, basically tell me that I needed to come clean with my wife?

    Because that’s what I hope and believe the priest would tell me to do.

  108. Xenia says:

    Alan, it would depend on the priest, I think. And on the situation.

  109. Xenia says:

    I imagine 99 percent of the time the priest would tell the sinner to come clean as part of a genuine repentance, but I have never been privy to anyone’s confessions except my own so I can only speculate. The priest himself would not tell the aggrieved party, that much is certain.

  1. March 25, 2016

    […] 21, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, On Steve Brown, by Michael Newnham. […]

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