Baptist Church inColorado Springs has had its shareof controversy over the years.Below, Matt Miller, senior pastor of Cornerstone since 2004, talks about the counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person in aposition of trust. He was paroled one year ago and lives in Oklahoma.
church’s past and his brother, Charles Dean Miller, a former music director at Cornerstone whoserved eight years in prison after being convicted on two felony
But before the interview, here is a quick history of the Cornerstone controversies.
MAY 1993: First public complaint from parents that children lured to a carnival were being baptizedwithout their permission.
JUNE 1997: A civil court jury decides that eight children who sued the church were not harmed bybaptisms, but said they were deceived by the church. Each child was awarded $664.
MAY 1998: Parents complain publicly that children attending an event at the church were baptized without their permission.
1999: Five women reported they had been sexually assaulted as teenagers by Charles Dean Miller, Jr., the church’s music directorand senior pastor’s son.
MARCH 2000: Charles Dean Miller Jr. pleaded guilty to two felony counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
APRIL 2009: Complaints that church members are proselytizing elementary and middle school students on their way to and fromschool surface after a couple reportedly tell police that church members tried to lure their 12-year-old daughter into a church vanafter school.
EDITED EXCERPT FROM MY INTERVIEW WITH THE REV. MATT MILLER:
MARK BARNA: It must have been devastating when your brother, Charles Dean Miller Jr., was convicted of sex offenses in 2000.
MILLER: We regret all of that. It not only hurt our family, our church family and our image in our city, it hurt the families of thegirls who were involved.My dad ( the Rev. Dean Miller, founder of the church and senior pastor at the time) is the one who called the police. He called thepolice on his own son. Can you imagine how tragic that is?We are still hurt over it … driving down to the prison to see him …. [begins to weep]
BARNA: Anything positive come out of it?
MILLER: We are all prone to making mistakes …. It’s given me more of a heart for people who come in or out of prisons for thatcrime or some other crime. It allows me to understand that these people are people. When I went prison to visit him, we had to sitinside prison walls, and I saw men who could have been businessmen who made a mistake in their life and are now paying theconsequences.And when they come out of prison, they’ve got to know there is some hope in this world. That hope is Christ, and that is why wepreach Christ.
BARNA: When the news broke about the witnessing at Russell Middle School by church members, how did you react?
MILLER: I went to our teenagers and I said, “I don’t know which ones of you are going over to Russell Junior High School, but youguys have no right to be on those properties. We have a method in the word of God on how we do this, and that is house to house,two by two. And I don’t not want you approaching kids going to and from school.”
BARNA: Are you planning to do anything differently in your soul-winning training at the church?
MILLER: I am going down that path now of training. When is it appropriate, when is it good or bad? If it’s underneath a moreorganized umbrella under the church, we might have a little more control over that.
Rev. Matt Miller