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Pray for the Bennetts in Australia as they with God's help and for His glory are seeking to establish: Western Plains Baptist Fellowship, and Gilgandra Baptist Fellowship as New Testament Baptist churches.
 

THE SAD SAGA OF ABWE

David C. Bennett (DCB), D. Min.

Ephesians 5:1 3 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. BUT fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.

As God has said sexual sins and impropriety should not be once named among His saints. However, these sexual sins seem to becoming more prominent among many who claim to be His saints including the independent Baptist saints. This ought not to be!  

If you have read any of my other writings you know my wife and I were associated with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) for several years. We parted company in 1993 so a total rehash of our experience with the organization is not needed at this time. Nevertheless, due to our past experience this latest news regarding ABWE is not a total surprise to us.

What is the latest news? I was alerted to this news via an email from another person asking if I had recently looked at the ABWE Land website. Since I had not viewed the ABWE Land website for several weeks if not months I proceeded to go and see what the writer was talking about. There I was confronted with http://www.abwe.org/news/article/abwe-responds-to-mks-blog/  March 23, 2011 ABWE responds to MKs Blog. In part ABWE said On Tuesday, March 15, 2011, ABWE was notified of a blog created by an ABWE MK (missionary kid) as a forum to discuss numerous disturbing sexual abuse allegations involving former ABWE missionary, Dr. Donn Ketcham. The blog stated its second purpose was to document how the mission agency [ABWE] he served under ha[s] protected both his private and public reputation by leaving the impression that he was dismissed from the mission as a result of an affair, not pedophilia.

We are deeply grieved by the stories being shared on this blog and desire to respond to comments and questions posed there with integrity and compassion. It is our hope to bring healing to the families victimized by these events by communicating clearly, truthfully, and openly as we work to confirm information regarding these allegations.

In 1989 we received a report of sexual abuse of a female minor by Dr. Donn Ketcham, while he was serving as an ABWE missionary in Bangladesh. ABWE immediately investigated and confirmed that incident, and as a result, Dr. Ketcham was removed from the field and terminated from service (Emphasis added by DCB).

Note the highlighted words that I emphasized. If one reads the allegations against this former ABWE Land missionary they certainly are disturbing! It is also disturbing to think a Christian organization would allow such a person to continue as a missionary for so long. IT LOOKS LIKE THERE WAS A COVER-UP IN THIS MESS. WHERE WERE THE CHURCHES? Sadly the churches which provide the funds for the ABWE Land to continue are so often demoted to a secondary position except for their funds which keeps the mission operating.

Then I read at the website http://www.abwe.org/news/article/abwe-board-and-administration-confession March 30, 2011ABWE Board and Administration Confession. It said Concerns regarding Donn Ketchams repeated inappropriate behavior with the opposite sex on the field could have resulted in his termination as early as 1975, but continued indiscretions should have resulted in dismissal no later than 1985. Regrettably, we did not terminate him as a missionary but rather gave repeated opportunities for counseling and remediation which allowed him time and opportunity to sin against you. Please, please forgive us (emphasis added by DCB).

DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU JUST READ? This man could have been sent home as early as 1975!! Please, please forgive us. Forgive this mammoth organization for overlooking sin against women and young girls! ABWE CALLS IT INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR AND INDISCRETIONS. Where is the outcry from the churches? Forgive them for overlooking this perpetrators sin of adultery and eventually paedophilia. How many chances does a missionary get for sexual misconduct, sin! HOW DID THIS CONTINUE FOR SO LONG!? THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING.

However, was it because he was the son of the late Dr. Robert Ketcham of GARBC renown, or because he was a medical doctor, or because he was simply a friend of so many of those in ABWE lands high places, that he was allowed to stay on the field? One can only imagine how much money this medical doctor brought into the coffers of ABWE. Could this be a reason for overlooking such sin?

The only thing ABWE did concerning this mans indiscretions was to send him home for counselling. After that he was then allowed to return to the field. UNBELIEVABLE! During these years this man had sexual relationships with at least three nurses who were sent home BUT he was allowed to stay. UNBELIEVABLE! One would think when they are reading the material concerning this man and ABWE Land that you were reading about a secular organization and not a supposedly Christian organization.     

Well, I finally arrived at the blog which eventually prompted ABWE Land to action. This blog; http://bangladeshmksspeak.com/2011/03/11/introduction-to-bangladeshmksspeak/ faces one with  the sad words ABUSE BY MISSION DOCTOR IN BANGLADESH - Sexual abuse victims of ABWE Dr. speak out. The first paragraph says The purpose of this blog is to bring into the light what has previously been kept in the dark, that is, to publicly identify Dr. Donn Ketcham of Allendale, Michigan as a pedophileIn addition to revealing that Dr. Ketcham is a pedophile, those of us putting together this blog intend to document how the mission agency he served under, Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (hereby referred to as ABWE), have protected both his private and public reputation by leaving in place the impression that he was dismissed from the mission as a result of an affair, not pedophilia (Emphasis added by DCB).  

Now the administrator of this field at that time was Russ Ebersole.  Note this, Russ is now working in a ministry of CARE TO THE MISSIONARIES as Vice President of Missionary Ministries (Emphasis added by DCB). Ebersole and CARE do not come to mind when I think of either. Ebersoles appointment to a ministry of CARING for missionaries after the sad saga of Donn Ketcham is another example of ABWE Lands being a GOOD OL' BOYS CLUB.  Ebersole was the administrator over the field on which I served so I know this man personally. CARE?! What all this shows is there is a job (ministry) always open for the GOOD OL BOYS. You pat my back and I will pat yours. If there is not a job open we will make a job. Anyway, Ebersole sent a letter to Ketchams supporting churches in September 18, 1989 simply stating A beloved brother has fallen! HAS FALLEN?! I invite you to LOOK back at that last word in the previous paragraph! IT IS PAEDOPHILIA!! THIS MAN HAD GONE FROM ADULTERY WITH WOMEN TO MOLESTING YOUNG GIRLS! In the state of Queensland, Australia and most if not all western nations Paedophilia is criminal activity involving sexual offences against children by adults but it did not seem so when it comes to ABWE in 1989! How much immorality does there have to be before ABWE Lands administration does something?

Now here is a comparison of how this OL BOYS CLUB (ABWE Land) dealt with one of their own, an adulterer paedophile medical doctor and a simple preacher of the Gospel.  This preacher, me, simply desired to resign ABWE Land due to their new evangelicalism and lack of ecclesiastical separation. We were told we would not be receiving any more salary as we were done and that was it. But what did they ask the churches to do for this many times over adulterer, paedophile? The administrator, Russ Ebersole, wrote in his letter to the churches that In consideration for Mrs. Ketcham, and at your discretion, we suggest that support be continued through November... IT DOES DEPEND ON WHO YOU ARE! ALSO THINK ABOUT IT, is it believable that through those many years Mrs. Ketcham knew nothing of her husbands philandering?   

Now the following seems incredible but Russ Lloyd who was sent by ABWE Land along with Russ Ebersole to supposedly handle the matter of paedophilia wrote that Kitty was predictably devastated! Shock, torment, anger, rage, bitterness, resentment, betrayal, shame, embarrassment, grief — if not present then — would soon visit her. she had been weeping and continued to quietly do so. Interestingly, her only notable questions pertained to how long they would have to pack and be off the field and to the severance package that ABWE would give. (Emphasis added by DCB) SEVERANCE PACKAGE! WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL WHO WAS MOLESTED BY A CHRISTIAN ABWE LAND DOCTOR. We are talking about an organization and people who profess to be Christians.  What a sad state of affairs. It would be interesting to know if the Ketchams received a severance package for bringing disgrace on the name of Christ.

IT WOULD SEEM THAT BEING AN ADULTERER, PAEDOPHILE AND MEDICAL DOCTOR CARRIES MORE UNDERSTANDING FROM THE HIERARCHY OF THE ABWE ORGANIZATION THAN DOES A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL WHO WAS ABUSED BY THE MISSIONARY DOCTOR. THIS CARING MISSION EVEN HAD THE YOUNG GIRL WRITE A CONFESSION WITHOUT HER PARENTS KNOWLEDGE. REAL CARING!!! 

One month later, yes one month later, ABWE finally issued the following: http://www.abwe.org/news/article/abwe-board-and-grace/  April 12, 2011 ABWE BOARD REQUESTS G.R.A.C.E. FACILITATE AND DIRECT A THIRD PARTY INVESTIGATION The ABWE Board met on Monday afternoon, April 11th, 2011, and decided to request that G.R.A.C.E. facilitate and direct a third party investigation of the abuse issues related to Donn Ketcham, and how such issues were handled by ABWE.  ABWE and G.R.A.C.E. will work towards formalizing this agreement in the days ahead. It is our hearts desire that such an investigation will reveal truth, and that the truth will result in actions that honor Christ and rebuild trust. May God be honored throughout this necessary and critical process (Emphasis added by DCB)? Honour Christ, rebuild trust? Are these just platitudes?!

Honour Christ?! Think about it, if the ABWE Land hierarchy had desired to honour the Lord Jesus it would have done something in 1975 or before.  THEN IN 2002 ACCORDING TO THE BLOG, THE PRESENT PRESIDENT OF ABWE, MICHAEL LOFTIS, TOLD SEVERAL MKS THE MATTER WOULD BE INVESTIGATED. NOTHING HAPPENED for almost ten years. Now, one can only suspect it is being investigated because of the MKs blog. NOT ALL ADEVERTISING IS GOOD ADVERTISING! Where was this honouring Christ during those many years?  How much dirty laundry is still hiding in the corners of ABWE LAND? How many other women, young girls or even boys are hurting because of ABWEs GOOD OL' BOYS CLUB ATMOSPHERE?  

Now, before you email saying have I done Matthew 18 no I have not. This is a sin that has been exposed (and rightfully so) for all to see. It is public information and as Spurgeon said We, therefore, who have spiritual life should never do anything which we should be ashamed to have published to the whole world. ABWE and Doctor Ketcham should be ashamed!

If ABWE Lands hierarchical overlords had done the Biblical thing back in 1975 none of this would have happened. It is a crying disgrace that ABWE and its past and present administration allowed this sin and criminal act to go on for so long.

It is also a disgrace that churches have neglected their duty and allowed organizations such as ABWE to rule and reign as lords over the local churchs missionaries. How many missionaries turn a blind eye for the reason that they do not want to be terminated for insubordination since they happen to question something or someone either on the field or in the ABWE Land administration? How many? 

The ABWE administrative overlords from the president to the field administrators must be held accountable but so should many others.  Missionaries serving with ABWE on that particular field during the time all this took place are accountable. There surely was some missionary on that ABWE compound with some spiritual discernment that could see that these sins and criminal acts were taking place! If they knew it was going on and kept quiet they are culpable as well. The local churches are accountable for ever allowing a mission agency to have so much control over the missionaries that these sins and criminal acts could not only happen but continue. Where are the pastors? The silence is deafening. Very few pastors have voiced their sorrow and disgust at on the MKs blog concerning what has happened. Is it business as usual?

After the investigation and any recommendations G.R.A.C.E. makes to ABWE what then? What real changes will be made in the administration of this man-made organization? Will the culture on the fields change? Will the ABWE board and administration change? Will they allow instructive though perhaps negative input to be made by the missionary whoever they may be? Will sexual perverts be dealt with early and Biblically? Will the local church have more input into their missionary? TO HONOUR CHRIST IN ALL THIS, THERE MUST BE AN ABSOLUTE TOTAL CLEANING OF HOUSE IN ABWE LAND.

 

 
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Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett

The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.

Phone/Fax: 011-61-2-6884-2846

E-Mail: revdocbennett@gmail.com or aussiedubbo@yahoo.com

Blog: www.bennettsnews.blogspot.com.au/

Address: Dr. and Mrs. Bennett, PO Box 1241 Dubbo NSW 2830, AUSTRALIA

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