Pastor Blake Lorenz: Former Church Board “Demonically Possessed”

Cedntral Florida News 13 has posted online an audio of the meeting at which Pastor Blake Lorenz and his wife Beverly were relieved of their positions by board members of the Global Revolution Church. Lorenz, it will be recalled, was the pastor who arranged for 17-year-old Christian convert Rifqa Bary to flee from her Muslim parents in Ohio to his home in Florida; the board members (Brian Smith, Tom Sanchez, and Jeff Parker) complain that while he undoubtedly had acted with the best of intentions, (a) his way of doing it had been illegal, and his actions meant that the church and its board members were now liable to civil suits brought by Bary’s family; (b) his actions had put the board members in an uncomfortable situation, as their home addresses were on-line on the church website (and a promise to have them removed had not been honoured); (c) the Lorenzes had lied to the board, destroying trust, and they had lied to the authorities with the story that Bary had hitchhiked to the bus station in Ohio when in fact an associate had driven her there.

Lorenz responds to this with the claim that the board members are “demonically possessed”, “evil”, and “crazy”. Beverly Lorenz, meanwhile, expresses shock and disbelief that board actually has authority over them, and she points out that she and her husband are college educated.

More substantially, though, Blake Lorenz explains that he had to lie to protect a life; I’m not quite clear whether he means Bary herself, or Brian Williams, the Ohio pastor who drove Bary to the bus station. Inevitably, he asks the board to consider if they would lie if some Nazis had asked them where some Jews were hidden. Beverly also raises the Biblical example of Rahab, who protected Israelite spies in Jericho by lying to some soldiers. The board members are not convinced: unlike the situation with the Nazis, Lorenz was asking the same authorities to whom he had lied to protect Bary. He had also kept the truth from the board, and as a counter-example from the Bible they mention Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene. Why didn’t Lorenz tell the truth and trust God?, they ask. It’s worth adding that even if Lorenz didn’t want to tell the truth, he could have refused to give any explanation. It’s also worth adding that Williams does not appear to have been molested by vengeful Muslims in Ohio.

However, the Lorenzes still have plenty of supporters, including the vile Pamela Geller, who with others has used the Bary story to whip up an anti-Muslim hysteria. Geller lashes out viciously against anyone who raises any question or urges caution regarding the Bary case, accusing journalists and bloggers of being in league with a Muslim plot to kill the girl. Geller has now turned her attention to the board members, whom she accuses of ousting the Lorenzes in order to purloin funds that had been donated to the church for Bary – lawyers have stated that they received no cash from the church.*

But once again, this looks like Lorenz failed to think things through properly: did he set up a separate account specifically to receive donations for Bary’s lawyers? Is there any paperwork recording the details of such a fund, and making clear the conditions under which it would be used? [UPDATE: See comment below for more details on this] If not, then those of Geller’s readers who took her advice to make ill-considered donations (donations that I suspect are now likely to be used to defend the church against civil suits) ought to be directing their complaints to her. And if Blake Lorenz has any decency, he would ask Geller to refrain from her abusive attacks on his former overseers.

*This sentence has been slightly amended.