An Open Letter to Graham A Cole (Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Regarding D.A. Carson Attacking a Rape Victim in The Gospel Coalition Statement out of His Loyalty to the Embattled C.J. Mahaney)

An open letter to Graham Cole who is the Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This open letter is regarding D.A. Carson’s behavior in attacking someone who was raped at 13 in a statement through The Gospel Coalition. Its time for that statement to come down, and its time for D.A. Carson to publicly admit this he is wrong. This is a situation that The Wondering Eagle is going to write about until Trinity does the right thing. Its long past time for this issue to be addressed. 

“Doing the right thing for someone else was like a tonic for me; it was like some magic ointment that made a wound disappear.”  

Susie Bright

“My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.” 

Heodore Hesburgh 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sinsand purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NIV

D.A. Carson teaching at EFCA One at .48

***Graham Cole is the Dean of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology. He is an ordained Anglican Minister. To read more about Graham you can read his faculty page at Trinity here. ***


Graham – 

I hope you are having a lovely summer. I miss the Midwest summers of Wisconsin in so many ways. I could go on with a lot of chit chat, but I want to get to the heart of this letter and explain why I am writing this to you over the internet. Graham you should know that this blog was born out of spiritual abuse and psychological trauma. It was born out of PTSD and crying in the middle of the night. I have seen the dark side of religion. This blog grew out of an incident when I was un-successfully recruited to Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington. I endured a false accusation that took aim at my name, ability to earn income and more. I am psychologically stuck, but I have one goal. I want to make sure that no one endures the hell that I have gone through. I write about the EFCA because its a part of my spiritual heritage, and who I am. No one else is really taking on the issues that pertain to the EFCA so I decided to step up and do it. Had it not been for the false accusation I endured  I would not be writing this at all. I will tell you that I do not enjoy all this writing. Its a lot of work, almost like a full time job and I have many late nights. But as an outsider today to the EFCA I can also bring some perspective that is deeply needed. Today’s letter to you is about one such issue that The Wondering Eagle is going to write about, and pursue as long as this blog exists. 

I have a deep concern with one of your professors. It involves D.A. Carson who I believe is the Research Professor of New Testament. D.A. Carson did the un-thinkable, and he did something that is horrific and uncalled for. On May 24, 2013 D.A. Carson attacked someone who was raped at the age of 13 who shared her story on SGM Survivors. He issued a statement through The Gospel Coalition that chastised someone who was raped when they were young. You can read that outrageous statement inWhy We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit.I honestly can’t believe I am writing this letter to you. I mean…who does such a thing? Who tears into a rape victim? What if a Trinity student attacked a sexual assault victim who has PTSD, would Trinity be fine with that behavior? Is attacking a rape victim something that Jesus would do?  

Its my belief Graham that D.A. Carson shouldn’t be teaching. He shouldn’t be a model. I don’t care how much he knows and how many Neo-Calvinists bow down and drool at his feet. What I do care about is that the wrong example is being established and that the message that the EFCA is sending to women is horrific. Does Trinity believe that women are human? Does Trinity believe that women have intrinsic value and should be loved and respected? Does Trinity believe that women have worth? The EFCA just had EFCA One down in Austin, Texas recently. I wrote about it here and here  at The Wondering Eagle. D.A. Carson is one of the people who taught at that conference. You can see him in the video up above. Having D.A. Carson teach while his signature is attached to a statement attacking a rape victim is un-thinkable. And the tragedy is that with each passing day with that statement still up in cyberspace the message the EFCA and Trinity sends to the world and rape victims is appalling. With each passing day what the EFCA and Trinity are basically doing is spitting upon those rape victims. With each passing day with D.A. Carson’s statement still up in cyber space Trinity is empowering rape and rapists. That is a disgrace, and if I were in a leadership position I would be shaking my head in shame. 

One of my goals Graham is that this blog is going to write about this issue until two things happen. One is when that terrible Gospel Coalition statement comes down. And when I say comes down, I don’t mean it disappears and the EFCA or Trinity acts like nothing was there. What needs to happen is that the EFCA acknowledges that statement and realizes a mistake that was made in not addressing it. I say this because the EFCA enabled the problem by remaining silent.  Second, D.A. Carson will issue a statement and rebuke that Gospel Coalition statement and say that it is wrong to have acted in such a way. I am a full believer in academic freedom, but this isn’t about academic freedom, this is about doing the right thing, which D.A. Carson needs to do. What message is D.A. Carson sending to his students by teaching before them with that statement boldly attacking a rape victim? Is Don saying that it is okay to be into tribalism to the point that one can ignore and spurn what Jesus has taught? Is Don inspiring people who graduate from Trinity Evangelical Divinity school to possibly engage in child sex abuse cover up or sexual assault cover up in Evangelical Free churches? By the way I honestly hope that rape isn’t a problem at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, after all you can look at the statistics of sexual assault in college here.   But if in time something comes out about Trinity will that culture explain why D.A. Carson was allowed to attack a rape victim? But this issue goes beyond just Trinity. Does it explain why the EFCA initially was silent about how one of its churches practiced church discipline on an alleged rape victim? I am referring to Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. I wrote about that issue in “From D.A. Carson to Steve Estes the Following Question Must be Asked: Is the Evangelical Free Church of America a Safe Place for Sexual Assault Victims?” I know the EFCA has spent a lot of time and money trying to resolve the issue and Greg Strand (who also does teaching at TEDS) was involved in that situation and tried to resolve it. And for its hard efforts to work and resolve the problem this blog commends and appreciates the EFCA for what they have done. Please note, I am not here to tear the EFCA down, I am here to make it healthier and stronger. 

But its time for Trinity to have a talk with D.A. Carson. I am going to start to talk about this issue heavily. That statement is an opportunity for Carson to admit an error and correct it. If he admits he made a mistake, corrects it and apologizes for his behavior and goes all out to then I will have much more respect for him, which today I struggle to in all honesty. If D.A. Carson apologizes for attacking a rape victim that will speak volumes. Actually according to his faculty webpage Carson has been faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School since 1978. If Carson repents for that statement in attacking a rape victim he will have done something that will have taught the EFCA quite a bit, embraced the Gospel better and honored God. He would have done more in admitting his error and showed Trinity how to respond when you make a mistake then anything he has done over 39 years of teaching. Everyone will win if Carson recants that statement. Carson will come out looking better, You Graham Cole as the Dean of Trinity will come out looking better, and the EFCA will come out looking better. One of the reasons Graham why Christianity is so sick and diseased today is because Christians don’t admit their error. I interact with atheists and secular humanists, its part of the group of people I write about. This topic plays into that perspective when some talk about why they don’t believe in God, because they view Christianity as being corrupt. Carson’s behavior reinforces that issue and Trinity’s silence on this issue confirms that many atheists and secular humanists are right on Christianity being corrupt. 

So it’s time to act. It’s time to do the right thing. Let’s send a message that Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the EFCA is opposed to rape and finds it unacceptable. As I wind this letter to you down I want to appeal to you based on the behavior of perhaps Illinois most famous citizen who I deeply admire. In 1861 the United States was in a crisis and teetered on Civil War. South Carolina had seceded from the United States and other Southern states had followed suit. Its was against that situation that Abraham Lincoln gave his inaugural address in March. In a high tenored voice with a slight Kentucky accent Lincoln closed out his speech by saying, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” So I come before you Graham as a Christian, and a brother and I want to appeal to the better angels of your nature. Can Trinity please have a talk with D.A. Carson and can that statement come down. Can we please do the right thing and honor God in the process. That is my plea to you as the Dean of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. 

Please take care of yourself, 

Very Respectfully, 

David Bonner 

3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Graham A Cole (Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Regarding D.A. Carson Attacking a Rape Victim in The Gospel Coalition Statement out of His Loyalty to the Embattled C.J. Mahaney)

  1. seems a good time to push FOR education for prospective ministers in seminaries about the problem of child abuse AND its cover-up . . . . . .
    putting light on the topic while seminarians are still in their ‘Christian formation’ seems a really good way to ward off the tragedy of someone at Carson’ ‘level’ having made inappropriate statements attacking a rape-survivor (aged 13 at time of attack) AND now being a negative role model as a result of this behavior. Young seminarians need good role models, the best. They do not need the example of someone who attacks the victim, no.
    D.A. Carson? how did such a person gain so much authority as to be engaging in behavior like this without reprimand? Is it his ‘fame’?
    Well, now, because of his attacking the victim, he is ‘infamous’.

    And times are changing. For the better, we hope. We can always hope. The young seminarians deserve better examples than Mr. Carson’s.
    God have mercy.


  2. I’m confused. I don’t even see mention of the victim in the TGC statement, much less an attack. It certainly isn’t a statement of support towards the victim(s)’s cause, but it’s not an attack, either. For reference, Merriam-Webster defines the verb form of attack as “take aggressive action against (a place or enemy forces) with weapons or armed force, typically in a battle or war.” Even taking weapons and armed force out of the picture, I don’t see anything aggressive about the statement. In fact, it seems they were trying their best to stay out of it but their constituents wouldn’t let them. You might reevaluate your Christian grace on this matter.

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  3. Pingback: Open Letter to Andrew Hoffman (Multiplication Catalyst for ECFA’s Western District on Why Its Time to Admit that the Neo-Calvinist Movement Has Failed…) | Wondering Eagle

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