A pastor known for promoting corporal punishment has been accused of physically abusing a woman for 25 years, beginning during her childhood.
The Rev. Larry Tomczak, an associate pastor at Bethel World Outreach Church near Brentwood, Tenn., was named in a Maryland lawsuit that was filed against leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a denomination Tomczak helped found in the 1980s and later left.
The suit was originally filed in October by three alleged victims of abuse and was amended Friday (Jan. 11) to add five others. All eight were given pseudonyms.
It alleges that Tomczak, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., and other church leaders covered up sexual abuse in the denomination and at a Christian school in Gaithersburg, Md., in the 1980s and 1990s.
Tomczak also is accused of repeatedly assaulting a woman (who is given the pseudonym Carla Coe) with plastic and wooden sticks. The alleged abuse began when she was a child and lasted more than two decades. When the woman was an adult, the lawsuit claims, Tomczak beat her bare backside.
The suit doesn’t say where those incidents occurred or how he met the woman.
Tomczak denies all of the allegations of physical abuse. He also said that as a parent, he was saddened to hear of the allegations. But he said he knew nothing about sexual abuse in the denomination.
“I had no involvement in any of this,” he said.
OK… so far, so bad. Maybe he didn’t have any involvement in any of this, as he said.
But then there’s this:
A book called “The Little Handbook on Loving Correction,” for sale on Tomczak’s website, advises parents to use a stick to spank their children. He stands by that advice today.
“That book has helped thousands of parents around the world,” he said.
Most people who read this story in the Washington Post will not agree that spanking a child with a stick constitutes any type of loving correction.
I don’t even believe that. (And I’m trying to stick up for the guy). No pun intended.
If, for example, some kids were… oh… I don’t know… spanked with sticks in the Christian school that Tomczak was over, then I would think (in today’s culture and today’s laws, there would be at least some guilt of sexual abuse.
Am I the only one who sees mixed signals here.
Why do Christians and our Christian leaders get into these messes? Don’t we see this stuff as troubling?
And how do we expect people to believe us when we’re not making any sense?
Please… let me know how wrong I am on this one.
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// Read the whole article here…
More troubles for Sovereign Grace ministries folk. This hit the Washington Post today: