from the ministries of
September 1, 2005
Greetings in the Lord. In light of the recent legal developments, the elders requested that I write to you with a word of encouragement and exhortation. The situation we are facing is surrounded with numerous pitfalls, not only for Jamin, but also for you and your family.
Our interest in writing this is primarily to see to it that no one does anything to make a bad situation worse, particularly with regard to Natalie. The elders were very distressed over the way Jamin took sinful advantage of your daughter, but we also have to say that we were just as distressed at your extremely poor judgment as a father and protector. We understand that you have confessed your sin and folly in this, but we remain very concerned about the possibility that this whole legal process could proceed in a way that continues to leave Natalie unprotected.
In our formal communication to Jamin, we wanted you to know that we have told him that we have not ruled out suspending him from the Lord’s Supper, despite his current professions of repentance. A decision about this would be related to how he conducts himself throughout this legal process, as well as whether that process reveals if he was deceptive with us about any significant aspect of this.
Although we believe the sins were very different, we also wanted to let you know that we have considered whether or not we should suspend you from the Supper for your dereliction of your duties as a father. We decided against that, but at the same time have determined that we needed to solemnly charge you to protect your daughter throughout this legal process. We say this recognizing that it has always been your intent to protect your daughter, but we wanted to urge you to recognize that intent to protect is not the same thing as protecting. If you do not protect her in this process the way you need to, we wanted you to know that we will have to revisit the question. Please know that in saying this, we are not assuming the truthfulness of Jamin’s account (over against yours). We are simply going on the basis of what all acknowledge happened.
In this light, there are some very practical things we would urge you to do. If there is anything of substance that you communicate to anyone about this — whether to us, the DA, your attorney, the police, etc. — we would urge you to have a written record of it. In particular, if you have communicated anything to the DA about what you believe the sentence should be, you really should have that in writing. We say this because this situation is very likely to fragment into conflicting stories, and part of your ability to protect your family will be found in having a written record of exactly what you have said and done. For example, we have already heard conflicting accounts about the matter of sentencing — some saying the Greenfields only want Jamin to go to prison for a few months, while others think that you want the book thrown at him, which would mean a life sentence. It is in the highest degree likely that at some point you will need to show what your position has been.
As Jamin is discovering, sinful behavior can have (and should have) destructive consequences. But different kinds of sins destroy in different ways, and we would urge you to have a merciful heart toward him, just as you would have others show mercy to you.
Despite these words, and these warnings, we want you to know that we have been praying for you, and want the Lord to use this situation in your family for genuine good. We want to be a real help to you in this process, and want you to feel free to ask for our pastoral counsel at any time.
Cordially in Christ,
Douglas Wilson, on behalf of the elders