James "Jay" Virtue Robinson IV, pastor of Southwood Baptist Church, stands accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. He surrendered to police on June 18. The key characteristics of this case are consistent with abuse cases from other Baptist churches. Robinson is a charismatic leader. He runs the church like a business. His followers show unequivocal support for the pastor. And, his followers assume the girl is "stirring up trouble".
"Everybody is supporting the pastor," said a man who answered the phone at the church Wednesday night, where services went on as usual although led by an associate pastor. "The church does not believe the allegations."
The man, who declined to give his name but described himself as a longtime member of the church, said that despite the arrest, he believes Robinson will remain pastor of the church.
"He will be unless he’s somehow convicted," the man said. "He is our pastor."
"I think that active members of the church will support the pastor. "There are people out there making allegations every day against people who are innocent."
The father of the abused girl tried to handle the situation within the church. His efforts failed.
"The co-chair said in this case, we’re going to err on the side of the pastor, so we cannot ask for his removal," Linde said.
Instead, the council voted to give Robinson a written reprimand and one year of probation, and order him to have counseling. Linde, however, voted against that.
"If they felt there was enough evidence to reprimand him according to the scripture, there’s enough evidence to remove him — to ask for his resignation," Linde said. "I was not willing to settle for a written reprimand. It did no good. It was going to sit in his file folder where nobody would see it, nobody would hold him accountable."
The father took the case to the police. The pastor was arrested, and then the church closed ranks.
The father was also unhappy with the vote, so he met with a group of men at the church to tell them about his accusation and give them copies of the phone records.
When the council found out, the father said, the council decided not to issue any disciplinary action against Robinson at all.
"They called it an illegal meeting of church members," the father said. "They were threatening people after that — anyone who is caught talking to us or communicating and talking about the issue at church will be removed."
Armed guards now remove people from church, or prevent them from entering if they are thought to have spoken out against Pastor Robinson. People are actually prevent from entering the church by a man with a gun. What country is this? Or, should I ask, what state is this? Texas of course.
Robinson thinks it is all a move to wrest power from the leadership of the church. This is a common tactic. When a leader is accused of raping a child, what better way to move people away from the crime than to say they are in fact attacking gods work?
Robinson said the accusing family was being used by others "who desire to wrest the leadership of this church from the pastor and the council" and would stop at nothing.
"Those who choose to follow the lead of these by gossiping, slandering, causing division and discord, or by holding or participating in sectional meetings, will face church discipline," Robinson wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Star-Telegram.
"Anyone who attempts to disrupt any service will be removed and be subject to church discipline. It is our desire and prayer that all would repent and be restored, but until that time, those who cause discord in the Church are to be shunned according to Scripture. Anyone else who causes discord and division or gossip should be avoided."
I'll get hate mail from this post. Members of the church will claim I am attacking a man of God. they will tell me that I will burn in hell or worse. I know it is a farce perpetrated on the ignorant by the nefarious whose only goal is to protect their way of life. In the end, it will all come crashing down.
Do you know why I know it will end in ruin? Because a brave father sought to protect his abused daughter. He is a hero. He stood up and said "hell no" to an entrenched leadership. I bet he knew taking it to the police would get him kicked out of his church too. He is a brave man. Pastor Robinson is a coward.