Jeriah Mast, Millersburg Ohio, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for sexually assaulting minors.
The judge addressed the church before sentencing, citing that Jeriah started molesting before heading to Haiti and was still left to molest 30 or more poor children. “Why?!”
Accolades of his transformation spoken, and the assurance that Jeriah is repentant and safe around children, left that one question unaddressed.
It is a question the church and para-church organizations need to take seriously, and account for. Because it is an ongoing problem. And what a tragedy that it is a judge who has to ask it, when it should be every pastor and leader and Christian.
We can do better. We must do The one victim who spoke showed great courage. It has been a hard road for all victims. And his family count among such victims.
Pray for them. Pray for all involved.
God is just. He is love.
Post Gazette Article: Ohio ex-missionary sentenced to 9 years in prison in child sex abuse cases
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© Trudy Metzger 2019
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This sentence is more than could be hoped for based upon what the defense and prosecution were originally asking.
Thank you, Judge Rinfret for doing the right thing. And for asking the question that has been reverberating throughout this whole ordeal.
“But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4).
Why? Why did Jeriah do this horrendous crime? Jeriah did this crime for the same reason that Adam and Eve committed their first sin. They were deceived into thinking that they can do this and still be OK. They did this for the same reason that we all “have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”
Jeriah then took it one step further and became addicted to this ungodly life. We all have this same capacity. But we all have the same available grace, the same available mercy, the same available Holy Spirit that convicts us, even as and while we are doing these type of evil deeds. As these three available gifts are disregarded, the conscience becomes dulled and eventually seared, so that we actually become reprobate in mind. Romans 1:28. Morally depraved, unprincipled, wicked.
This type of depravity leads us to “think of himself more highly than we ought to think.” This is probably the most subtle characteristic of the reprobate mind. We might think that this is not possible for a “Christian” to have a reprobate mind. Romans 1:18-32. These were people who “hold the truth in unrighteousness.” A perfect description of Jeriah. This is especially true for those in places of authority and power over minorities.
Why did the church leaders and CAM leaders send him back into the field of young boys that they knew he had been abusing earlier? For the same reason that Jeriah did what he did. They have come to the place where “They think of themselves more highly than they ought to think.” They wanted their work to continue without the interruption of a serious offence. It is unbelievable that the leaders in CAM didn’t realize the seriousness of this crime. It is unbelievable that men of their capacity, their experience, would not understand that the addiction that Jeriah is bound up with is not repented of in a general church setting confession. UNBELIEVABLE!
Why did they not report him to the appropriate authorities at the time of his first confession? Reporting it to the proper authorities would have revealed internal corruption and would have been a blot on the supposedly stellar reputation of CAM. Here again we see a spirit of superiority that has only one place to go. Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” This spirit has been prevalent in ever increasing evidence among CAM leaders. Many in the Plain Communities have talked about their arrogance for years.
God did not perpetrate this. Satan did. God allowed it for a chastisement for ALL Anabaptist congregations and organisations, yes indeed for all Christians to humble themselves, pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will God hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
The “WHY” question has an answer found in God’s Holy Word. This question is no different than any other hard question. There is an answer. It takes humility to search it out, accept the answer in our heart, and then live it out by the GRACE of GOD. The fact that the Church and the CAM leaders were not forthcoming with this “Why” nor with the answer, seems to me to be evidence that they have not discovered the answer.
The Founding Fathers of this country did not plan for the jails to hold criminals as a punishment for their evil deeds. The jails were designed to hold the prisoner until he was chastised with a monetary fine, the whipping post, some other form of corporal punishment, or capital punishment. All of these line up with the Old Testament laws. We, in modern America and in our churches have adopted the system of some kind of outward repentance that feels good to us. We, as Anabaptists are even now at the place where we are asking the Civil Authorities to allow us to deal with our own people, and by-pass the laws and punishments of the government. This is completely against scripture. Matthew 5:11 does not say that we are blessed if we can avoid jail or death by hiring a lawyer to help us when we are caught doing a crime. But that is what happened in Jeriah’s case. SAD. Jesus didn’t have a lawyer.
Again, this is a nationwide call to 2 Chronicles 7:14. As we search God’s Word, we will find no other answer, except God’s. Bill Miller. Phoenix, AZ