For We Like Sheep

Dave over at The Grace Pages has helpfully cut and pasted a couple of articles about Douglas Goodman, the London-based pastor who has just been sent down for three and a half years for indecent assault and perverting the course of justice (the jury failed to convict on other charges, including one of rape). Goodman’s first trial was last year; this verdict comes after a retrial. The Daily Telegraph reports that Goodman’s former church, the Victory Christian Centre,

was closed down in 2002 when it was unable to pay creditors despite an estimated income for that year of £7 million.

Meanwhile, Goodman

spent lavishly, using £21,000 from the church to take his family on holiday to Hawaii, buying designer clothes and giving expensive presents to a variety of young women, the court heard.

However, the Telegraph fails to note that since then Goodman has been running a new church based in Wembley, called Victory to Victory, or Victory 2 Victory (V2V). Visitors to this church’s website are directed towards a very interesting, purely general, sermon entitled “Is it wrong for Christians to take each other to court?” Funnily enough, the answer is “yes”. As I fear this gem may disappear from the internet before too long, I quote at length:

more and more preachers are living in a state of paranoia as women in the church more and more frequently feel free to stand up and make allegations of sexual misconduct, men and women alike have been known to sue ministries for thousands, even millions of dollars…

“Now therefore it is an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another.” 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 (NKJ)…

There are people that have been wronged in some way or the other, for example lending money to other Christians that may take you into the lending of thousands of pounds. In your heart you can probably justify taking them to court in order to have your money restored back to you, but in doing so you and I would violate scripture…

A young lady named Sally, relates an experience she had in a seminary class, given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says that Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons…On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture. The class lined up and began throwing darts…Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus. A hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced. Dr. Smith said only these words… “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40

Goodman also asks us:

Have you ever wondered why God likened us unto sheep? Sheep are one of the few animals that have no defence system; in fact they rely wholly on their shepherd. This is what God expects for us to do.

Journalistic clichés about fleecing come to mind. Speaking of which, I did wince slightly when the Telegraph stated that Goodman “preached in an American evangelical style”. That’s rather oversimplified. From what I’ve heard of Goodman, and seen of churches like his, Goodman preached a mix of Prosperity Gospel teachings and Norman Vincent Peale-type motivationalism, within a neo-Pentecostal setting.

One unresolved aspect of the case concerns the footballer John Fashanu, who was a member of Goodman’s church. According to accusations (denied by Fashanu) made in both the original trial and the retrial, Fashanu made threats against one of the central witnesses:

The Old Bailey jury was told youth leader Banjo Aromolaran had been told of complaints by some women, but felt intimidated after Mr Fashanu said he could become the victim of an acid attack or sex allegations.

UPDATE (May 13): The V2V website has been updated! The sermon on not taking Christians to court is still available, but there is no link to it from the main part of the site. Plus Douglas Goodman has gone the way of Trotsky: his wife Erica Goodman appears alone as “senior pastor”, and all of Douglas’s products are gone. I also note the 2004 “Women of Excellence” conference advertised on the site is titled “I’m a survivor”.

UPDATE 2 (May 15): More on Erica from the Black Information Link (via The Pagan Prattle of 7 April):

THE WIFE of a pastor accused of rape attempted to exorcise demons from one of her husband’s accusers, a court heard.

Erica Goodman, the wife of Pastor Douglas Goodman, exorcised of the ‘spirit of witchcraft and Jezebel’ from a woman, after the congregation member claimed Pastor Goodman had attacked her.

But after laying her hands on the alleged victim’s head to draw out the evil spirits, Mrs Goodman then accused the woman of sleeping with a 15-year-old boy.

The preferred term is “deliverance” rather than exorcism, a practice I looked at a few posts ago.

UPDATE 3 (11 March 2005): Goodman has lost his appeal (in all senses of the word).

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