Trinity City Church is both an Acts 29 and EFCA Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Since George Floyd’s death Bryan Lair who leads Trinity has been quite vocal about racial injustice. And while this blog believes racial injustice needs to be addressed and written about, is Bryan Lair committed to addressing all injustice? Will he address the injustice of spiritual abuse in the Acts 29 network? Will be be as outspoken about sex abuse? This blog would like to ask how can you be against injustice when you compartmentalize it?
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
From Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 NIV
Auguste Rodin The Thinker
Bryan Lair’s May 31, 2020 sermon
Bryan Lair’s June 14 sermon
The death of George Floyd been a major event in American history especially with the riots and and protests that have spread to other cities in the United States. This blog which writes about the EFCA, has been paying attention to how the EFCA in the Twin Cities has been responding to this situation. Trinity City Church which is part of both the EFCA and Acts 29 has been on the forefront of addressing racial injustice. But there are other questions that need to be asked as we speak about injustice.
This Blog Applauds You Speaking Out About Racial Injustice
Bryan Lair as a pastor has been very adamant about addressing injustice and racial issues. This actually goes on long before George Floyd’s death and the Minneapolis riots and protests in late May early June of 2020. After the Neo-Nazi riot and death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, which is not far from Washington, D.C. Trinity City Church in Saint Paul addressed the altercation. This blog wrote about that in, “How Acts 29’s Trinity City Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota Responded to the Neo-Nazi Rally in Charlottesville.” Then of course Bryan Lair has been speaking out about the death of George Floyd. Trinity City Church issued a lament which you can read about in, “Trinity City Church in Saint Paul Adapts a Lament For Those Who Can’t Breath.” In addition to that Trinity has been quite active in addressing the death of Floyd in other ways. This blog chronicled some the efforts of Trinity City Church in the following post, “A Compilation of How EFCA Churches in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area Are Responding to the George Floyd Protests, Riots and Unrest Part 2.” For the last three Sundays and in other activities Trinity City Church has addressed racial injustice. Bryan has spoken about the sin of racism. He has spoke up about how the church needs to address racial injustice. How Christians should educate and pray against the issue of injustice and combat it long term. And this blog recognizes that and respects that approach. Actually this blog has written about both the EFCA and also the issues of racism in evangelicalism. While there are a number that can be found in the blog’s archives, here are a few examples that I would like to highlight.
- “Reflecting on the Los Angeles Riots in 1992 and How I Came to Accept White Privilege Exists.”
- “Greg Marshall of Elmbrook Church in the Milwaukee Area on How White Christians Should Respond to Racial Tension.”
- “On Martin Luther King Day Being Thankful for the Efforts by EFCA North Central District Superintendent Brian Farone in Addressing Racial Injustice.”
- “SE District Superintendent Glen Schrieber Invites EFCA President Kevin Kompelien and District Superintendents to Montgomery, Alabama Where they Wrestle with the Legacy of Racial Injustice.”
What About Injustice as it Pertains to Sexual Abuse or Spiritual Abuse?
As much as this blog appreciates Bryan Lair here is an issue that I would like to raise. In being so outspoken about injustice in regards to racism, has the Acts 29 pastor forcefully been as vocal about sexual abuse or spiritual abuse? The evangelical church has been terrible about racism. Likewise it has also been behind the curve when it comes to sexual abuse and spiritual abuse. How many stories about the sexual abuse or spiritual abuse has this blog written about? Just this evening I received another email about a sexual abuse situation that I am going to have to write about.
But when sex abuse or spiritual abuse has taken place has Bryan Lair been as outspoken about the issue at hand? Let me run through a battery of questions of spiritual abuse or sex abuse scandals that occurred from 2008 until recently.
- In 2015 when Matt Chandler’s The Village Church attempted to practice church discipline on a female who annulled her marriage to a child pornography addict did Bryan Lair speak out about that? Did he preach about unjust church discipline? Did he come out and say that spiritual abuse in the Acts 29 network should not be tolerated?
- When situation after situation of child sex abuse hemorrhaged out of Sovereign Grace Ministries from 2008 until 2013 did Bryan Lair condemn C.J. Mahaney and speak out about the topic of sex abuse? Did he do a sermon about evangelicalism and child sex abuse?
- When Paul Petry’s wife wrote in 2012 about how Mark Driscoll could have murdered her husband due to his anger issues did Bryan Lair speak out and condemn Mark Driscoll? Or did he say, “Wow Pastor Mark has another cool sermon I have to Podcast.”
- When James MacDonald’s Harvest Bible Chapel was imploding in Chicago in 2018 and 2019 did Bryan stop and address spiritual abuse? Did he grieve about what some families went through and the controversies that exist? Or did he stay silent and ignore it?
Better yet let’s really bring this home for Bryan Lair and EFCA/Acts 29 Trinity City Church of Saint Paul, Minnesota. In September of 2018 when Trinity City Church worked with Fellowship Associates, which has ties to John Bryson of Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis, to launch a new Acts 29 church in the Twin Cities area did Bryan Lair inquire about what happened at Fellowship Memphis? Did he stop to inquire of the sex crimes that took place at Fellowship Memphis? As the Senior Pastor of Trinity City Church did he stop and think of how sacred the Gospel is before working to launch a church plant with a corrupt entity? Did Bryan Lair grieve for the victims of sex crimes in Fellowship Memphis and think of his own personal responsibility to address such injustice? To the best of this blog’s knowledge none of that happened. And that is truly a shame. If you want to read more about Trent Senske of Acts 29 Immanuel Fellowship in Minneapolis you can read the following post, “Acts 29 Trinity City Church Plants Immanuel Fellowship in Minneapolis with Fellowship Associates. Is the Culture that Led to the Alleged Cover-up of Voyeurism and Child Pornography in Fellowship Memphis Being Duplicated in the Twin Cities?”
Are You Really Opposed to Injustice When You Compartmentalize It?
Here is a question that this blog wants to pose. Are you really committed to fighting injustice when you compartmentalize and allow injustice to continue in other areas? Or let me bring this home. Is Bryan Lair really combating racial injustice when he as an Acts 29 pastor overlooks injustice that is spiritual abuse that happens in the Acts 29 network? No…Bryan Lair is not. Actually his words on George Floyd do not have as much strength and integrity because he is being selective about injustice. This is a problem that I see with the Neo-Calvinists. And while I agree with them on the issue of racism, (go into this blog’s archives and look up the posts that have been written)this is an issue that needs to be corrected. When tribalism is more important that speaking out against abuse or injustice then there are problems. George Floyd’s death needs to be discussed, and people do need to speak up. That video of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin with his knee against Floyd’s neck is deep disturbing. Actually I felt ill watching it. But is Bryan Lair the person to speak up about injustice when Lair doesn’t speak up about other forms of injustice? No…George Floyd’s memory deserves better. Minneapolis deserves better and evangelicalism of which I have abandoned deserves better.