When we look at the mess at Tenth Presbyterian Philadelphia, Liam Goligher and Susan Elzey, we’re seeing a couple of trends come together. And they all spell bad news.
The big question is why did Tenth hire Grace in the first place? The investigation and report, we are told, cost almost 200K, or about a thousand dollars per page. Tellingly, the report side-stepped several key issues:
- Why were the perjury and other abuse by Liam Goligher, Susan Elzey, George McFarland and others directed at Phil Snyder not addressed?
- Why did the elders reject suggestions of background checks for all church employees and volunteers?
- Why were background checks not done as part of the GRACE report?
- Most of all, why isn’t Tenth actually DOING something about abuse in the church? The place is a veritable three-ring circus of abuse, corruption, nepotism, and complementarian guys covering their ample backsides.
The answer is simple: The church directed the scope of the report. As a result, the report sidestepped a number of inconvenient truths and did its best to point things away from Goligher, McFarland, and the rest of this sordid bunch.
Then we come to the issue of what was to become of the report? The church wanted to keep the report close to the vest, yet it wanted the benefit of being able to say, “We brought in an outside, independent organization.”
But thanks to the stupidity of Susan Elzey and others, a copy of the report almost immediately landed in our hands.
So what happened next?
Initially, the church tried to claim the report was a fake. Similarly, folks claimed that the whole Goligher/Elzey thing was made up, a picnic in the park, and all sorts of BS.
When that didn’t work, George McFarland and the rest of the sorry lot tried a different tack with their spiritual abuse. Specifically, when they couldn’t hold the line any longer, they tried to pull an us-versus-them, in which they proclaimed that the charges against Goligher were true because they had evidence. Thus, the church portrayed itself as the arbiter of all truth, when in reality it’s as crooked as a corkscrew.
But in all of this, there’s a larger point, which is that by pulling in GRACE, Tenth sidestepped convening a church court that would have held Goligher accountable. It’s been several months, and Tenth has yet to follow the procedures outlined in the Book of Church Order.
In other words, Tenth is trying to protect Goligher, and by extension Phil Ryken, who teed up Goligher as his successor—a big no-no in the PCA. And the church is trying to diffuse its way out of crisis, with these small group meetings, even as it buys time.
We also note that George McFarland and the rest of the Boys of Tenth still haven’t taken responsibility for their role in the debacle at the church — including its atrocious behavior towards Phil Snyder. Remind this godless Episcopalian—doesn’t the Bible say something about Satan being the father of lies? Or could we just stick with the Ninth Commandment and its stricture against false witness?
But then, why start now? The photo at the top of this post was taken in Haddonfield, NJ shortly after Goligher and Elzey were criminally charged for sex in a Lancaster park.
Apparently, even criminal charges aren’t enough to deter these two adulterous clowns. Or enough to get Tenth Pres to denounce corruption, arrange a church trial, and throw Goliger, McFarland, Elzey and the rest of the sorry lot out the door.
So much for integrity in PCA.
In fact, it’s sounding more and more like the Episcopal Church. Zero accountability and money paid to bad actors — the precise opposite of what Jesus would urge us to do.
Until Tenth cleans up its act, this is another church on the no-fly list,