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Friday
Jun072019

Former Members of Providence Reformed Baptist Church Ask Probing Questions, Lay Out 16 Things ARBCA Must Confess, & Expose Pastor Tom Lyon for Covering Up Tom Chantry’s Crimes

Tom Chantry was the pastor at Miller Valley Baptist Church in Prescott, AZ from 1995-2000.  In November 2000, he was justly accused by the elders of “repeatedly abusing several children” in the church.  Fearing arrest, he fled to Providence Reformed Baptist Church in University City, Washington pastored by Tom Lyon who was a close friend of Tom’s father, Walt Chantry.  Lyon covered up Chantry’s crimes and never informed the congregation that a sadistic child abuser was in their midst.  Nine months after Chantry’s arrival, Lyon had him preaching on a regular basis.  Lyon is one of the most influential and corrupt pastors in the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA). 

Lori Ann Grover was a member of Tom Lyon’s church for 30 years.  She has written two excellent articles about Chantry and ARBCA on her blog, On Point.  Here are a few excepts from her first article in August 2018.  

Tom Chantry Trial and ARBCA Coverup
Lori Ann Grover
Thursday, August 23, 2018 

Verde News, Aug. 18, 2018 “Throughout the trial, the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches’ investigation into Chantry’s misconduct was mentioned.  During that investigation more than 20 years ago, nothing was reported to the police.  Tuesday, Judge Astrowsky warned both counselors [the prosecutor & Chantry’s lawyer] to not derail too much into ARBCA as they are not being tried in this case.  ‘If this were a trial of ARBCA, they’d be convicted,’ he said.  ‘But that’s not what this trial is about.’” 

This man, Tom Chantry, whom County Prosecutor Susan Eazer called a "sick, twisted, pedophile," ran from the church he pastored in Prescott, AZ, to my congregation where I attended for thirty years.  There, not knowing his charges, he was welcomed, sat among us and our children, preached, and was sent on with blessings to work in an elementary school and eventually pastor another church in Wisconsin.

The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America investigated Chantry's crimes in AZ, sealed their findings which included his "punishing children for his own pleasure." … A criminal offense was committed when the police were not notified of Chantry’s crimes by the association. … I was told he was running from a misunderstanding: “It was just spankings.”  I was told, “He just needs a wife.”  

These are real doozies.  Tom Chantry was not running from a misunderstanding and it was not about spankings and the solution was not getting married! 

Here is Grover’s second article.  It is excellent. 

Between Convictions: Tom Chantry and ARBCA
Lori Ann Grover
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 

Following two convictions of assault, Tom Chantry has been found guilty of four charges of molestation. What can be done as another survivor awaits Chantry’s next trial with nine counts? The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America released their statement following the most recent verdict.  I have seen the outrage regarding it and have been turning over my own thoughts as a former member of an ARBCA church where Chantry attended and preached.  How can we love and care for each other well?

First, we affirm. I affirm children deserve to be protected and heard within a church. Parents deserve the same. Members ought never be told to not read and educate themselves.

Second, survivors must be heard.  ARBCA can listen to Tom Chantry’s victims.  They can hold the pain and anger of each one assaulted.

Third, we confess. ARBCA can confess these things, as a start: 

1. being complicit in assault and pedophilia

2. not believing, protecting, and nurturing victims

3. misleading parents

4. covering the assaults

5. giving refuge to the pedophile

6. welcoming him into a new church community without disclosing his crimes

7. exposing further children to assault

8. exposing the congregation to Chantry in the pulpit

9. labeling molestation as spanking

10 sending Chantry out to work in an elementary school

11. ordaining him to preach and lead another congregation

12. welcoming that church into ARBCA

13. taking the stand in the courtroom against the survivors

14. continuing to refuse to comfort and make reparations to the survivors

15.encouraging current church members to not read and educate themselves about the matter

16. ignoring all of the proceedings and judgments and continuing on as if nothing has happened 

There is a time to plod on, and there is a time to stop.  Stop and hold oneself accountable.  Listen to the survivors.  Be transparent, confess, make reparations where possible, and commit to protecting the ones who can’t protect themselves.  Love.

Will Tom Lyon, or the Informal Council, or ARBCA Administrative Councils, ever admit fault?  Not for any of the things listed above.  Why?  Because they are so serious!  Men would have to resign leadership positions and step down from pastoral ministry if they were truthful about their illegal and unethical behavior. 

Paul Schmidt was also a longtime member at Providence Reformed Baptist Church under Tom Lyon.  Here is an insightful comment he made on Thou Art The Man.  It underscores the reprehensible conduct of Lyon.  The members had no idea why Chantry suddenly arrived in the midst and they were “told in essence” not to ask questions.  I’ve added notes and underlining. 

Thou Art the Man
Comment by Paul Schmidt
September 14, 2018

Bob Selph states that Providence Reformed Baptist Church [PRBC] “assumed the full responsibility of (Chantry’s) oversight and guidance.  As mentioned above, the Tacoma church received the complete packet with all the documents and testimonies. 

[Note: Bob Selph was the ARBCA Coordinator from 2000-2007.  He wrote “An Explanation of the ARBCA Informal Council conducted for the Miller Valley Baptist Church (Prescott, AZ) and Thomas Chantry in December of 2000” for his supporters and the Reformed Baptist Network of churches on September 7, 2018.  “The complete packet” is a reference to all the sealed evidence of child abuse provided Tom Lyon and Mark McCormick at PRBC when Tom Chantry relocated there on Dec. 16, 2000.] 

Selph erroneously makes the scenario sound as if the entire membership of PRBC knew the reasons why Tom Chantry suddenly showed up one day in 2000.  We didn’t.  We were told in essence to not ask questions (“Nolite quaerere,” the unofficial motto of PRBC, by the way).  Information was intentionally concealed from us, information that could have protected us and our children had Chantry given in to his twisted proclivity while among us. 

[Note: No one at PRBC was told why Chantry suddenly showed up.  Notite quaerere comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of Luke 12:29 - “Do not worry about it” (NIV).] 

Nor did we assume “full responsibility” for him; Pastor Tom Lyon did.  It’s troubling to me that the congregation of PRBC at that time should be lumped in with Tom Lyon’s decision to bring a deviant predator into our midst, without so much as a “by your leave.” 

[Note: “By your leave” means “with your permission.”  Lyon did not ask permission of the church to bring in a sadistic child abuser.] 

Further compounding the matter was that PRBC elders, namely Tom Lyon, recommended Chantry for membership knowing what he had done to children in Arizona.  He was not “accepted” into membership; Chantry was in essence rammed down our throats, with no opportunity to question him, then he was given space in the pulpit not long afterward. 

[Note: Chantry should have been under church discipline.  He arrived December 2000 and was regularly preaching by September 2001.]    

This past Sunday, Sept. 9, Tom Lyon attempted to clarify PRBC’s involvement with Chantry from 2000-2002.  He first condemned “muckraking” blogs that are “damaging the reputations of good men,” then scolded the congregation for reading them, then conveniently neglected to mention his continued support of Chantry, including Chantry’s installation as pastor of Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Hales Corners. 

[Note: Lyon is a corrupt and heavy handed leader.  Chantry was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault on August 21, 2018.  He is doing damage control because we (the “muckraking” blogs) were providing coverage – especially Todd Wilhelm at Thou Art the Man who attended the entire trial.  He scolds the congregation for reading about the trial and guilty verdicts.  Lyon has deceitfully covered up for Chantry since 2000.  He preached Chantry’s installation service on September 22, 2007 even though Chantry continued to batter children at Liberty Christian Academy (2002-2005) after he left PRBC.] 

Four questions that I respectfully challenge Tom Lyon (and all other ARBCA pastors) to answer: 

1) When you express more concern about the reputation of men than the suffering of Chantry’s victims, how is that not an indication that something is wrong? 

[Note: To this day, ARBCA has failed to contact any of the victims or their families to ask forgiveness, express care, or make reparations for wrongdoing.] 

2) When you admonish your congregation for looking at blog sites to seek information about the Chantry matter, yet ARBCA somehow escapes your admonishment for withholding information of crimes (even a trial judge says ARBCA is guilty of a coverup) and for the bumbling, incompetent way it’s handled this entire situation, how is that not an indication that something is wrong? 

[Note: Everyone who has studied the evidence knows ARBCA covered up Chantry’s crimes.] 

3) When that same judge must admonish your friend, Pastor Don Lindblad, for giving evasive answers under oath, how is that not an indication that something is wrong? 

[Note: Lindblad could have been arrested and charged with perjury.] 

4) When you can speak at Chantry’s installment as pastor at Hales Corners church, knowing what you knew about Chantry’s past behavior, while the Hales Corners church apparently knew nothing, how is that not an indication that something is wrong? 

[Note: Lyon never told the lay leaders or members of Christ Reformed Baptist Church anything about Chantry’s history of child abuse.  They were clueless.  How dangerous is that?  Extremely.] 

Clearly Chantry did not meet the Apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy that an elder “must be without reproach” (I Tim. 3:2). 

I hope I have not been overly harsh, Tom.  But as you are so fond of saying, someone has some ‘splainin’ to do. 

(My wife and I were members of PRBC from 1994-2008, then began attending again in May 2017 with knowledge of the Chantry matter, thanks to this blog. We ceased attending PRBC on Sept. 9. [2018]) 

[Note: Paul Schmidt and his wife are a wonderful example of Christian courage and conviction.] 

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