Bishop Joseph Walker III is the pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church (“Mount Zion”), one of the largest churches in Nashville, Tennessee. Jerry Luren White, Michael E. Williams, Kerry Edwin Bryant, Darrell Owens, and Kimberly Barton Rankins are the five (5) other church leaders being accused of sexual misconduct by four (4) women who state the abuse has gone on for a period of 10 years. Accusations of sexual assault, and in one case, a forced abortion led to these charges. The women are suing Mount Zion for $5 million dollars.
One of the four (4) accusers is Valencia Batson, a former secretary at Mount Zion. She felt it was time to speak up because she was spiritually bound, had no life, and what happened to her should not happen in a church. She is seeking to expose this kind of behavior to save other young women from this sort of trauma.
Mount Zion’s statement regarding this matter is that the women are just trying to make money, but it has been reported that more women have come forward.
Valencia Batson has obtained supporting testimonies from three (3) former church members who each say they were abused during counseling sessions. Connie Allison (Valencia Batson’s attorney) states the women are scared of possible retaliation so they do not want to be identified, but described Ms. Batson as “the bravest human I’ve ever met.”
Saints – I’m telling you the truth in love! If the accused continue on as if nothing is wrong, they are just trying to hang on to money and power! If an usher was accused of stealing – would you let him take up the offering again? Is it wise to leave money around a former thief? Not until you see signs of repentance first! The accused wants us to “forgive and forget” but I say let’s be wise – “forgive and wait for fruit” because a tree is known by its fruit! Fruit takes a while to develop! Luke 3:8 says “bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance” – that means it’s your job to bring it forth. You are to show us that you’ve changed! The devil accuses us of not “walking in love,” “holding the past over their head,” or being in “unforgiveness” when really we just want to see some fruit and it takes time for it to grow. What they do over time can gain back our confidence! Can you plant, then go outside the next day and pick an orange? God was patient with us, so we need to be patient until our fruit grows! Jesus died for our sins so He’s in the business of reconciliation, but sin will always take you further than you want to go.
In conclusion, don’t expect anybody to give you back the trust that you lost as if you were never accused! Without the proper fruit, that wouldn’t be wise because Matthew 7:20 says neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.