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ARBCA Membership Process of Christ Reformed Baptist Church

Hales Corners, Wisconsin,
and the Case of Thomas J. Chantry

Administrative Council Report

Part I

September 5, 2018
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Table of Contents

PREFACE .......................................................................................................................................................................................3

INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................................................................................................4

PART I ............................................................................................................................................................................................4

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS ......................................................................................................................................................5

DISCUSSION OF DECISIONS ....................................................................................................................................................8

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE’S SETTING ASIDE OF MVBC PROTEST........................................................................................................ 8

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE’S APPROVAL OF CRBC’S APPLICATION ...................................................................................................... 8

ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL’S APPROVAL OF CRBC’S APPLICATION ..................................................................................................... 9

ANALYSIS ................................................................................................................................................................................... 10

THE OPERATIONAL PURVIEW OF ARBCA AS AN ASSOCIATION OF CHURCHES .................................................................................10

THE HANDLING OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE ALLEGATION AND PENDING INVESTIGATION ........................................................12

THE HANDLING OF MVBC’S PROTEST......................................................................................................................................................13

THE PROPRIETY OF DECISIONS RECOMMENDING APPROVAL OF CRBC’S APPLICATION.................................................................14

BIBLICAL INJUNCTIONS REGARDING DIVINELY ESTABLISHED PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING ALLEGATIONS ..............................14

SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................................................................................................16

Conclusions ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 16

Recommendations .............................................................................................................................................................................. 17
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PREFACE
Children are precious to God. While no parent, teacher, or pastor perfectly fulfills his
responsibilities to God for the children entrusted to his care, by our holy and loving heavenly
Father, we must never accept or excuse treatment of children that breaches the standards of love,
kindness, and wisdom God has prescribed for their provision, protection, training, and care. As
an association of churches, we are grieved by the events involved in the case of Thomas J.
Chantry, a former pastor of a church in our association. We deeply sympathize with all of the
parents and children affected by this situation, and we pray for their healing, comfort, and
spiritual well-being.

The purpose of this report is to communicate, clearly and transparently, information to member
churches about decisions of the Membership Committee and the Administrative Council of the
Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA). We have made every attempt
to provide an objective account of the events, circumstances, deliberations, and decisions
regarding the handling of the application for membership of Christ Reformed Baptist Church of
Hales Corners, Wisconsin, by the Membership Committee and the Administrative Council.
During this period, Mr. Chantry was pastor of Christ Reformed Baptist Church. We have
included an abundance of documentation, as attachments to this report, and have taken great care
to detail material facts and oral testimonies accurately and coherently. Additionally, an
explanation of the operational purview of an association of churches and an examination of
biblical injunctions, regarding divinely established procedures for handling charges or
allegations, are necessarily incorporated in the “Analysis” section of this report.

Our goal has been to provide an exhaustive chronicle of the administrative processing of Christ
Reformed Baptist Church’s application for membership in ARBCA, along with an assessment of
the integrity of that process and the constitutional, procedural, and biblical grounds for the
decisions and actions of the ARBCA officers involved in the process. We pray that this report
will provide the pastors and members of our associational churches the information necessary to
answer questions regarding this matter and to maintain the unity of fellowship and confidence in
our association.
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INTRODUCTION
The delegates to the General Assembly of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches
(ARBCA), which met in April 2016, voted to approve Christ Reformed Baptist Church (CRBC)
of Hales Corners, Wisconsin, for membership in ARBCA. In July 2016, Thomas J. Chantry,
pastor of CRBC, was arrested and subsequently charged with five counts of child molestation
and three counts of aggravated assault. The charges stemmed from the period of time he was the
pastor of the Miller Valley Baptist Church (MVBC), Prescott, Arizona, from June 18, 1995 to
November 8, 2000. No police report concerning Mr. Chantry was filed during this time. In July
2015, a new allegation was made about Mr. Chantry’s actions as pastor at Miller Valley, which
resulted in a criminal investigation and his arrest. After his arrest, a number of pastors and
members of churches affiliated with ARBCA understandably questioned whether the
Membership Committee and the Administrative Council were aware of the allegation against Mr.
Chantry and the existence of a police investigation prior to the General Assembly. They also
questioned why CRBC was recommended for membership in ARBCA, if the Membership
Committee and the Administrative Council did possess this information. Additionally, the
Administrative Council received requests to provide a full written report concerning this matter
to ARBCA member churches. Out of concern for possibly affecting the judicial process in some
way, the Administrative Council deferred such a report until the completion of the trial.

On August 21, 2018, a jury in the Yavapai County Superior Court in Camp Verde, Arizona,
announced its verdict in Mr. Chantry’s case. The jury found Mr. Chantry guilty of two counts
of aggravated assault, not guilty on one count of aggravated assault, and not guilty of one count
of child molestation. A mistrial was declared on four other charges of molestation. Since sworn
testimony of all the principles in the trial and other evidence related to the charges are now
public record, the Administrative Council can provide a report to the member churches of
ARBCA.

As soon as the trial ended on August 21, 2018, the Administrative Council began the preparation
of a two-part report regarding the membership process of CRBC and the Thomas J. Chantry
case. Part I will cover ARBCA’s actions between the April 2015 and the April 2016 General
Assemblies. Part II will cover the work of an ARBCA informal council requested by MVBC, in
December 2000, and the subsequent ARBCA actions related to the results of the informal
council’s assistance to this church. This is Part I of the report.

PART I
This part of the report contains a discussion of the events of the membership process for CRBC
in chronological order, an explanation of the decisions made by the Membership Committee and
the Administrative Council related to the membership process, an analysis of those events and
decisions, and a summary, which includes conclusions and recommendations.
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Chronology of Events
The Membership Committee requires churches applying for membership in ARBCA to send at
least one officer of the church to attend a General Assembly prior to applying for membership.
Mr. Chantry attended the 2015 General Assembly, as pastor of CRBC. At that time, he had not
informed the Membership Committee of any plans for CRBC to apply for membership in
ARBCA. During the April 2015 General Assembly, Chris J. Marley, pastor of MVBC, talked
with Steven Marquedant, Chairman of the Membership Committee, and asked Mr. Marquedant if
CRBC was going to apply to join ARBCA. Mr. Marquedant informed Mr. Marley that Mr.
Chantry had not communicated any plans for CRBC to do so. Mr. Marley asked Mr.
Marquedant not to accept an application for membership from CRBC, because members of
MVBC believed that Mr. Chantry had never fully resolved issues with MVBC that developed
during the time Mr. Chantry was pastor of MVBC. Mr. Marley also stated that, if CRBC was
allowed to apply for membership in ARBCA, MVBC would consider resigning membership in
ARBCA. Mr. Marley was in possession of the report of an informal council conducted in
December 2000 at MVBC, which contained information about issues regarding Mr. Chantry.
The elders of MVBC and Mr. Chantry signed a document on December 16, 2000, restricting
distribution of this report.1 As an elder of MVBC, Mr. Marley was an authorized recipient of this
report and had read the report.

On June 16, 2015, Mr. Chantry notified Mr. Marquedant that CRBC was ready to seek
membership in ARBCA.

On July 21, 2015, Mr. Marley met with an investigator in the Prescott Police Department and
reported that he had “inherited” the case file concerning Mr. Chantry, a former pastor of MVBC.
Mr. Marley kept the file in a binder, which was impounded as evidence at this meeting.2

In July 2015, Mr. Marley notified John Giarrizzo, ARBCA Coordinator; Douglas
VanderMeulen, Chairman of the Administrative Council (AC); and Steven Marquedant,
Chairman of the Membership Committee; that a man had recently made an allegation that Mr.
Chantry had molested him several years earlier, when he was three or four years old and Mr.
Chantry was pastor of MVBC. Mr. Marley indicated this was a new allegation and the
individual making the allegation was not named or involved in the issues described in the report
of the informal council. Mr. Marley stated that the police were going to investigate the
allegation and had imposed a gag order on dissemination of information, by giving instructions
for the allegation and the investigation to be kept confidential. Presumably, Mr. Marley received
permission to inform a very small group of officials in ARBCA about the allegation and
investigation. Mr. Marley instructed them not to talk about the allegation with anyone else. The
police did not want Mr. Chantry to discover that he was the subject of an investigation and the
substance of the allegation.

In July 2015, Mr. Marley also informed Rob Cosby, a member of the Administrative Council, of
the allegation against Mr. Chantry.

1
Distribution of the Complete Report, December 16, 2000. A copy of this document is included as Attachment 1.
2
Supplemental Report – Prescott Police Department, D.R. Case # -- Supplement # 15-22665-002, p.2. A copy of
this document is included as Attachment 2.
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Neither Mr. Giarrizzo, Mr. VanderMeulen, Mr. Marquedant, nor any Administrative Council
members or Membership Committee members not included in the distribution list, from
December 2000 to August 2018, had access to the December 2000 informal council’s report, due
to the distribution restrictions placed on this report by the elders of MVBC and Mr. Chantry.
Those Administrative Council members, who were included in the distribution list, were
prohibited from sharing the contents of that report with anyone else, including the other members
of the Administrative Council.3 The only exception, which the Administrative Council learned
during its inquiry into this matter, was that Mr. Marley provided the informal council’s report to
Mr. Giarrizzo in late 2015 or early 2016.4

On July 26, 2015, CRBC applied for membership in ARBCA.5

On August 2, 2015, MVBC submitted a letter protesting CRBC’s application for membership. 6
The protest centered primarily on MVBC’s belief that Mr. Chantry had not taken action “to seek
full repentance and the forgiveness from each of the four children and their parents” named in
the informal council’s report. Significantly, the letter of protest did not reference the new
allegation, which was communicated by Mr. Marley to ARBCA officers in July 2015, or the
related investigation. The letter maintained the strict confidentiality about that information
imposed by the law enforcement authorities.

On September 23, 2015, Mr. Marquedant, as a member of the Membership Committee, replied to
MVBC’s letter of protest and notified MVBC that CRBC’s application would be accepted and
processed in “normal fashion.”7 Mr. Marquedant had reviewed the available documents
regarding the recommendations of the informal council. This documentation included the
“Report of the Informal Council” to member churches of ARBCA,8 a letter from the elders of
Providence Reformed Baptist Church (PRBC),9 an excerpt from the AC Meeting Minutes of
January 22, 2002,10 a letter from MVBC to Earl Blackburn (AC Chairman) dated February 5,
2002,11 a reply to that letter from Mr. Blackburn dated February 13, 2002,12 and a statement
included in a letter from Don Lindblad dated June 17, 2015.13 In addition, as Mr. Marquedant
stated in his letter to MVBC, he also conducted private interviews with several individuals
regarding the issues raised by the elders of MVBC in their protest. Additionally, the
Membership Committee requested Mr. Chantry to certify that he had met all the conditions
recommended by the informal council.14 Based on the information available to them, Mr.
Marquedant and the members of the Membership Committee concluded there was no
impediment to proceeding to consider CRBC’s application through due process.

3
See the Analysis section for a discussion of the distribution restrictions placed on the informal council’s report.
4
See Attachment 3.
5
See Attachment 4. See the Discussion of Decisions and Analysis sections for a discussion.
6
See Attachment 5.
7
See Attachment 6.
8
See Attachment 7.
9
See Attachment 8.
10
See Attachment 9.
11
See Attachment 10.
12
See Attachment 11.
13
See Attachment 12.
14
See Attachment 13.
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On November 12, 2015, the Membership Committee interviewed the officers of CRBC.15

In January 2016, Mr. Marley told Mr. Giarrizzo that Mr. Chantry was being investigated for
multiple counts of child molestation, and that ARBCA should not vote CRBC into the
association.

In late January or early February, Mr. Marley informed Jason Walter, a member of the
Membership Committee, of the new allegation against Mr. Chantry.

On February 9, 2016, a Membership Committee report recommended to the Administrative
Council that CRBC’s application for membership be approved.16 This report was submitted to
the Administrative Council at its March 1, 2016, meeting.

In mid-February or early March 2016, Mr. Marley notified Steve Martin, the newly elected
Coordinator of the Administrative Council, of the allegation and investigation. Mr. Marley also
requested disapproval of CRBC’s membership application.

In late February 2016, the Administrative Council was informed of the allegation against Mr.
Chantry and discussed what effect, if any, the allegation and the report of an investigation might
have on consideration of CRBC’s membership application.

In late February 2016, the Membership Committee was informed of the allegation against Mr.
Chantry and discussed what effect, if any, the allegation and the report of an investigation might
have on consideration of CRBC’s membership application.

On March 1, 2016, the Administrative Council approved the Membership Committee’s motion to
recommend CRBC to the delegates of the April 2016 General Assembly for membership in
ARBCA.17

In March 2016, Mr. Marley informed Mr. Marquedant that investigators had met with Mr.
Chantry and that there was no longer a gag order to keep the allegation and investigation
confidential.

In March 2016, Mr. Marquedant made inquiry to verify Mr. Marley’s report that the gag order
had been lifted. He discovered that Mr. Chantry had not been notified of the allegation or of the
fact of an investigation.

In April 2016, just prior to the General Assembly, Mr. Marley told Mr. Giarrizzo that an arrest in
the case of Mr. Chantry was pending.

On April 25, 2016, CRBC was presented to the delegates of the General Assembly, which
approved CRBC for membership.

15
See Attachment 14.
16
See Attachment 15. See a discussion of the decision to recommend CRBC for membership in the Discussion of
Decisions and Analysis sections.
17
See Attachment 16. See discussion of the decision to recommend CRBC for membership in the Discussion of
Decisions and Analysis sections.
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Discussion of Decisions
Membership Committee’s Setting Aside of MVBC Protest

After careful consideration of MVBC’s letter of protest (Attachment #5), the documents included
as Attachments 7 – 13, and the information provided through personal interviews, the
Membership Committee decided to dismiss the protest and to continue to consider CRBC’s
application for membership in ARBCA through the established procedures in policy. The elders
of MVBC protested CRBC’s application for membership in ARBCA, because they believed Mr.
Chantry had not taken action “to seek full repentance and the forgiveness from each of the four
children and their parents” named in the informal council’s report. The documentary and verbal
evidence showed that Mr. Chantry had visited all the families of the children, as well as all the
families of the church, to express repentance and seek forgiveness. The MVBC protest did not
contradict this evidence; the issue for MVBC was that the repentance and forgiveness was not
“full.” Mr. Chantry asserted that he had fully repented and sought forgiveness and that he
believed the MVBC elders wanted him to repent of things he did not do. MVBC’s protest letter
referenced the informal council’s recommendations, but the Membership Committee did not
have access to that report. Absent any specifics or explanation of what was lacking in Mr.
Chantry’s seeking of forgiveness, during his visits with MVBC families for that purpose, the
Membership Committee concluded that the report of compliance (Attachment 8) submitted by
the PRBC elders dated January 1, 2002, substantiated satisfactory completion of the
recommendations of the informal council. Additionally, the elders of CRBC’s sponsoring
church, Grace Reformed Baptist Church (GRBC) in Rockford, Illinois, fully supported CRBC’s
application and affirmed Mr. Chantry’s qualifications and fitness without reservation. The
MVBC eldership had relinquished authority over Mr. Chantry in December 2000, when he
placed himself under the authority of the elders of PRBC. Subsequently, Mr. Chantry was under
the authority of the elders of GRBC and, finally, under the authority of the congregation of
CRBC. No ecclesiastical mechanism existed for MVBC elders to secure compliance from Mr.
Chantry concerning matters they perceived to be unresolved for almost fifteen years, nor were
they in a position to evaluate him personally or professionally. Considering these factors, the
Membership Committee proceeded with the regular processing of CRBC’s application.

Membership Committee’s Approval of CRBC’s Application

While Mr. Marquedant had informed Mr. Massey, Chairman of the Membership Committee, of
the allegation against Mr. Chantry in July 2015, the allegation was not discussed in the
Membership Committee until late February 2016, due the gag order imposed by the Prescott
Police Department. Although Mr. Marley had breached the Police Department’s restrictions on
maintaining confidentiality of this information, the ARBCA officers, who had been informed of
the information, attempted to comply with those restrictions. Therefore, CRBC’s application for
membership was handled by the Membership Committee, according to the normally established
procedures, without consideration of the allegation and investigation; however, the protest from
MVBC delayed the process, while information was gathered and the protest was evaluated. The
only exception to the normal processing procedures was the Committee’s request for Mr.
Chantry to provide a certification that he had met all the conditions recommended by the
informal council (Attachment 13). The Membership Committee conducted the Membership
Interview of the CRBC officers on November 12, 2015, and voted to approve CRBC’s
application and recommend approval of the application to the Administrative Council. This
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approval relied on the same policy criteria and conditions under which all applications for
membership in ARBCA are considered. The evaluation of the documentation submitted by
CRBC, the results of the Membership Interview, and the recommendation of an ARBCA church
in good standing, GRBC, combined to meet all the criteria necessary to warrant approval of
CRBC’s application.

In late February 2016, the Membership Committee met telephonically, in special session, to
discuss the allegation and pending investigation concerning Mr. Chantry and its affect, if any, on
the recommendation to approve CRBC’s application for membership in ARBCA. The
Committee concluded the following: 1) that the report of the allegation and investigation was, at
that time, third-hand, unofficial information, which lacked authoritative, formal confirmation,
and could not be discussed with CRBC or Mr. Chantry, because of law enforcement’s
admonition to keep the allegation and investigation strictly confidential; 2) that a review of
ARBCA’s Constitution and Policy Manual, as well as ARBCA’s historical practice, showed that
ARBCA is an association of churches, not elders, and that CRBC met all the requirements for
membership; and 3) that, if the allegations were true and Mr. Chantry was convicted, CRBC
would desperately need the help and support of the Association. Consequently, the Committee
found no reason to rescind or modify its recommendation for approval of CRBC’s application.
Mr. Marley had stated that MVBC would oppose approval of CRBC’s application, and the
Committee considered the possibility that MVBC delegates to the General Assembly could
present the allegation against Mr. Chantry and the investigation to the General Assembly.
However, ARBCA policy and Christian prudence circumscribed the Membership Committee’s
actions to evaluating the church’s fitness for membership in relation to established criteria, which
CRBC fully met, and excluded any consideration of unsubstantiated allegation or rumor, as well
as any apprehension of possible opposition to approval of a church for membership at the
General Assembly.

Administrative Council’s Approval of CRBC’s Application

In late February 2016, the Administrative Council met telephonically, in special session, to
discuss the allegation and pending investigation concerning Mr. Chantry and its effect, if any, on
the recommendation to approve CRBC’s application for membership in ARBCA. Mr. Cosby
informed the Administrative Council of the allegation and pending investigation. The Council
wanted to know if Mr. Chantry and the members of CRBC were aware of the allegation. Mr.
Cosby notified the Council that the police investigator had imposed a gag order on the
information and admonished Mr. Marley to keep the information strictly confidential and to
notify only those few people who had an absolute “need to know.” Mr. Cosby stated that this
gag order applied to the Council members also, until Mr. Chantry was notified of the allegation
and investigation by the law enforcement agency. The Council discussed the fact that an
allegation was only an allegation; that it did not constitute guilt; that anyone could be an object
of an allegation at any time; that this allegation was third-hand, unofficial information; that the
Council was not an investigative body and had no mandate to conduct an investigation; and that
the matter, as reported by Mr. Marley to Mr. Cosby, was in the hands of a law enforcement
agency with appropriate jurisdiction. The Council concluded that its proper course of action was
to wait for the law enforcement authority to complete its investigation and to take whatever
action the investigation warranted.
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On March 1, 2016, the Administrative Council met telephonically, in regular session. The
Membership Committee’s Report dated February 9, 2016, which contained the recommendation
to approve CRBC’s application for membership, was included in the business agenda for this
meeting. The Council again discussed the allegation and pending investigation concerning Mr.
Chantry. The Council received the Membership Committee’s conclusions regarding the
allegation and concurred that an allegation and pending investigation, relating to an individual,
cannot be considered as criteria for making decisions concerning the membership application of
a church into ARBCA. The Council also concurred that ARBCA was an association of
churches, that CRBC fully met the criteria for membership, and that, if the allegations were true
and Mr. Chantry was convicted, CRBC would desperately need the help and support of the
Association. The Council also affirmed that the responsibility and authority for determining the
fitness of elders resides solely in the local church, and that the onus to take action in relation to
Mr. Chantry, if he were charged and found guilty, remained vested only in the local church.
Additionally, the Council maintained that communication of the allegation beyond the auspices
of the judicial system of the State of Arizona could damage Mr. Chantry’s reputation and,
consequently, violate the Ninth Commandment.

Analysis
The Operational Purview of ARBCA as an Association of Churches

A thorough analysis of the events and decisions concerning the handling of CRBC’s application
for membership and the related issues must begin with highlighting applicable aspects of the
operational purview of ARBCA as an association of churches. As the Administrative Council
stated in its letter to member churches dated August 22, 2018,

ARBCA is not a denomination with any control whatsoever over local churches or their
pastors, whether members of ARBCA or not, except to provide assistance, counsel, make
recommendations and, in the most serious matters, disassociate from or give moral
support to individual congregations and their members. Constitutionally, ARBCA does
not install or remove pastors, discipline individual church members or pastors/elders, or
interfere in any material way with the work of local congregations, whether to impose
courses of action upon them corporately, or any of them individually, or to shield them
from any false charges. ARBCA has no ongoing means to determine the state of affairs
within local congregations, involving members and/or church leaders, and can only rely
solely upon reports given to ARBCA by them from time to time.

This statement reflects the strictures and prerogatives of the Association and its officers specified
in ARBCA’s Constitution, as stated below.

The Association may not interfere with the affairs of its member churches. The
Association will only offer advice to a member church when requested to do so by a
majority of duly elected officers, or by congregational request made in accordance with a
church’s own constitution or by-laws. When requested by a church, the Association will
give advice to the church but has no power to enforce its judgment. The Association will
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not respond to the requests of individuals or groups within churches unless brought
through a member church.18

This review of the Association’s relationship with member churches enables a proper
understanding of the effect of the distribution restrictions19 imposed by the elders of MVBC and
Mr. Chantry on the informal council’s report of December 2000, the authority of the local church
to impose those restrictions, and the incapacity of ARBCA’s officers to access the council’s
report, or for those ARBCA officers included in the distribution list to share the contents of the
report. The Association simply did not have the authority to overrule the distribution restrictions
specified by the elders of MVBC and Mr. Chantry.

Consequently, none of the information about the allegations against Mr. Chantry in 2000 and the
subsequent informal council’s report was available to the Membership Committee or the
Administrative Council. This means that nothing contained in the report was available for
consideration by the Membership Committee in its evaluation of MVBC’s protest of CRBC’s
application for membership in ARBCA. Additionally, nothing contained in the report was
available to the Membership Committee, the Administrative Council, or the delegates at the
General Assembly in 2016 in the process of considering CRBC’s application for membership. In
December 2000, when the informal council visited MVBC and prepared its report, Appendix II
of ARBCA’s Policy Manual, “Guidelines for Forming and Conducting a Church Council”
(Guidelines), did not exist. These guidelines were apparently first drafted in December 2001,20
and were not officially approved as late as May 2002.21 This means that the current policy
requirements stipulating distribution of Church Council reports to the Chairmen of the
Membership Committee and the Administrative Council were non-existent.22 Consequently,
MVBC, the local church, retained absolute authority over the distribution of the informal
council’s report and did, in fact, exercise that authority. When the Guidelines were eventually
incorporated into the ARBCA Policy Manual, their provisions were not retroactive and MVBC’s
distribution restrictions legitimately controlled the informal council’s report.

The significant conclusion, therefore, is that neither the ARBCA Coordinator, the Membership
Committee, nor the Administrative Council concealed any information about the allegations
against Mr. Chantry in 2000 or any information contained in the informal council’s report,
because they did not have access to that information.

The fact that Mr. Marley violated the distribution restrictions by giving Mr. Giarrizzo access to
that report, in January 2016, did not relieve Mr. Giarrizzo of responsibility for maintaining the
confidentiality of the report proscribed by the restrictions imposed by the MVBC elders and Mr.
Chantry in 2000. Communicating the information in the report to anyone would have usurped
the authority of MVBC, as a local church, and subjected Mr. Giarrizzo to liability. Additionally,
Mr. Giarrizzo was under no obligation to report the allegations contained in the informal
council’s report to law enforcement, because Mr. Marley had already provided the report to the
Prescott Police Department, and Mr. Giarrizzo had been notified that an investigation of Mr.
Chantry was underway.
18
Constitution of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, Paragraph III.B.3.
19
See Attachment 1.
20
See AC Meeting Minutes dated January 22, 2002.
21
See AC Meeting Minutes dated May 7, 2002.
22
See ARBCA Policy Manual, Appendix II, Paragraph VI.Q.
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These restrictions on distribution of the informal council’s report have important, broader
implications, which will be addressed in Part II of the Administrative Council’s report
concerning the case of Mr. Chantry in December 2000, and the subsequent ARBCA actions
related to the results of the informal council’s assistance to MVBC.

The operational purview of ARBCA is also applicable to the analysis of the Membership
Committee’s setting aside of MVBC’s protest of CRBC’s application for membership and will
be discussed in the section below titled, “The Handling of MVBC’s Protest.”

The Handling of Information About the Allegation and Pending Investigation

As stated in the Chronology section above, in July 2015, Mr. Marley notified Messrs. Giarrizzo,
VanderMeulen, Marquedant, and Cosby of the new allegation against Mr. Chantry and the
investigation. He later revealed this information to Mr. Walter, in late January or early February
2016. According to Mr. Marley, the police investigator imposed a gag order on the
dissemination of this information by admonishing him to keep the information confidential and
giving him permission to share the information with only those few officers in ARBCA with a
need to know. Mr. Marley informed the men named above that the information was very
confidential and could not be shared, by instructions of the investigating officer. This constituted
a gag order for all those who received the information. Consequently, that information could not
be used as a reason for denying CRBC’s application for membership. The only possible result of
sharing this information with these ARBCA officers would be the possibility of influencing their
handling of CRBC’s application for membership in such a way that the Membership Committee
and the Administrative Council would find some other reason for disapproving CRBC’s
application. Such action on the parts of the Committee and the Council would have been both
dishonest and unethical. Also, the gag order prevented any possibility of doing anything to
lessen the impact of the arrest and trial of Mr. Chantry, on the Association. The only way to
avoid such impact was to refuse to accept CRBC’s application or disapprove the application for
some other reason. Therefore, since the Committee and the Council could not use this
information in processing or evaluating CRBC’s application or in the performance of any other
official ARBCA duties, none of the officers who received the information met the requirement of
possessing “a need to know.”

The “need to know” standard is that a person must have a demonstrated need for the information,
because the information is required in order to perform his official duties. Inherent in this
standard is the existence of a tangible consequence of failure to obtain the information. In the
case of the allegation against Mr. Chantry and the investigation, this information could not be
shared with anyone, could not be used as a reason to disapprove CRBC’s application, and could
not be used for any other official purpose; it was useless and the lack of it would not have
interfered with the performance of any official duties. Accordingly, this information should not
have been communicated to any ARBCA officials. The handling of the allegation and
investigation, along with any necessary attendant results or actions, should have been left
entirely to the law enforcement officials possessing appropriate jurisdiction over the
investigation.

The men who received this information kept it strictly confidential until late February 2016, at
which time both the Membership Committee and the Administrative Council received
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notification of the allegation and pending investigation, during separate, telephonic, special
sessions. By this date, several members of the Committee and the Council had been notified of
the information by Mr. Marley. Additionally, Mr. Massey had been notified of the information
by Mr. Marquedant, because Mr. Massey had become Chairman of the Membership Committee.
Thus, the Chairmen of the Committee and the Council decided it was necessary for the members
of both groups to be notified of the information and to determine the proper manner of handling
the information. Both the Committee and the Council deemed it essential to keep the
information strictly confidential, in order not to interfere with the police investigation. Again,
neither the Committee nor the Council met the “need to know” standard, since the information
could not be used and it did not interfere with or prevent the performance of any official duties.

As stated in the Chronology above, Mr. Marley also notified Mr. Marquedant, in March 2016,
that Mr. Chantry had been contacted by an investigator and was aware of the allegation and
investigation; therefore, Mr. Marley asserted that the information was no longer under a gag
order of confidentiality. In March 2016, Mr. Marquedant contacted Mr. Donald Lindblad to see
if Mr. Chantry had discussed this matter with him, in order to verify Mr. Marley’s report that the
gag order had been lifted. He discovered that Mr. Chantry had not been notified of the allegation
or of the fact of an investigation. An officer from the Hales Corners Police Department had
contacted Mr. Chantry and asked to speak with him about events that occurred in Prescott,
Arizona, in 1995-2000. According to Mr. Lindblad, Mr. Chantry declined to talk with the
investigator without an attorney. Based on this information, the Membership Committee, the
Administrative Council, and the ARBCA Coordinator remained under a gag order and could not
release the information, without the possibility of interfering with the investigation. The
subsequent availability of the police report confirmed the fact that, while the investigator had
contacted Mr. Chantry, he was not informed of the allegation or that he was the subject of a
formal investigation.23

ARBCA officers were restricted from communicating the information about the allegation and
the investigation to anyone. In fact, these ARBCA officers should not have been notified of the
information. This means that, if an obligation existed to notify the officers or congregation of
CRBC of the allegation and information, that obligation rested solely with the investigators of
the Prescott Police Department. The obligation of the Membership Committee and the
Administrative Council was to comply with the admonition of confidentiality imposed by the
law enforcement authorities by the gag order.

The Handling of MVBC’s Protest

MVBC’s protest did not object to CRBC, as a church, coming into membership in ARBCA.
MVBC did not present any allegation that the church did not meet the constitutional and policy
requirements for membership. MVBC’s protest objected to Mr. Chantry, as pastor of CRBC. In
other words, the reason the MVBC elders protested CRBC’s application was because they
asserted that Mr. Chantry had failed to seek “full repentance and forgiveness.” In their letter of
protest, the MVBC elders further stated, “We will rejoice if these events catalyze genuine
repentance and reconciliation within Christ’s church, but even upon such an occasion we could
only recognize Mr. Chantry’s salvation and not his ordination, given the events that have taken

23
Supplemental Report – Prescott Police Department, D.R. Case # -- Supplement #15-22665-009. See Attachment
17.
14

place”24 (italics inserted). Clearly, in order to accept MVBC’s protest, the Membership
Committee would have to somehow bring Mr. Chantry to seek “full repentance and forgiveness”
or persuade CRBC that Mr. Chantry was unqualified for the eldership. Either action was
prohibited by ARBCA’s Constitution,25 since ARBCA does not possess such authority.

As previously discussed, the information about the allegation and the investigation was under a
gag order imposed by the Prescott Police Department. Therefore, that information could not be
used, in any way, in evaluating MVBC’s protest. Likewise, the Membership Committee did not
have access to the informal council’s report and could not have used any of the information in
that report, unless the elders of MVBC and Mr. Chantry officially lifted the restriction on the
distribution of the report.

Accordingly, the Membership Committee dismissed MVBC’s protest, as explained in the
“Discussion of Decisions” section, “Dismissal of MVBC’s Protest” subsection, above.

The Propriety of Decisions Recommending Approval of CRBC’s Application

As detailed in the above subsections titled, “Membership Committee’s Approval of CRBC’s
Application” and “Administrative Council’s Approval of CRBC’s Application” under the section
titled, “Discussion of Decisions,” CRBC met all the criteria for membership. The
recommendations for approval of CRBC’s application complied fully with ARBCA’s policy and
practice governing the acceptance of churches into membership.

In order for the Committee and the Council to use the information about the allegation and the
investigation to postpone or disapprove CRBC’s application, two conditions would have been
necessary. First, the gag order on the allegation would have to have been lifted. Second,
ARBCA would have needed to amend its constitution to allow an application for membership to
be postponed or disapproved based on any allegation against a pastor or specific allegations
against a pastor. Neither of these conditions existed.

Consequently, the decisions to recommend approval of CRBC’s application for membership
were proper.

Biblical Injunctions Regarding Divinely Established Procedures for Handling Allegations

Any elder or any church member in any church can be accused of anything at any time. That
most certainly does not mean that such accusations are to be made public or to be used in any
decision-making process related to an elder or a church member, until such time as the
accusations are established by factual evidence gathered and evaluated by competent authority
with appropriate jurisdiction. If it were the case that any accusation against an elder or church
member should be made public and/or used to make decisions concerning that elder, church
member and/or his church, without such a factual process superintended by competent authority
and under appropriate jurisdiction, no elder or church could function; all elders, all church
members, and all churches would be subject to any random attack or accusation and the public
consequences, and Satan would make devastating use of such a practice. So, the key issue in

24
See Attachment 5.
25
Constitution of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, Paragraph III.B.3.
15

such matters is the establishing of factual evidence and the evaluation of that evidence by
competent authority with appropriate jurisdiction and responsibility to act based on the outcome
of the evidence and its evaluation.

The sole ecclesiastical authority for adjudicating spiritual issues is the local church. The Lord
Jesus detailed the due process for church discipline in Matthew 18:15-17 and, by so doing,
designated the local church as the only competent ecclesiastical authority with appropriate
jurisdiction over charges or allegations of sin.

God ordains the secular ruling authorities, the governments of nations and states, as the only
competent authority with appropriate jurisdiction over allegations of crimes, as indicated in Titus
3:1 and Romans 13:4. God also establishes the system of a standard of evidence that is evaluated
and judged by competent authority, which is reflected in Deuteronomy 19:15.

Moreover, God makes specific provisions for handling charges or allegations against an elder in
1 Timothy 5:19, where the Apostle Paul writes, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder
except from two or three witnesses.” In matters of sin, such an accusation is received by the
local church for the purpose of evaluating evidence and executing judgment. In matters of
criminal conduct the appropriate government jurisdiction has authority to investigate, evaluate
evidence, and judge.

Therefore, in the case of Mr. Chantry, there are two spheres of competent authority with
appropriate jurisdiction. One is the local church and the other is the State of Arizona. In the
history of this matter, MVBC and its elders possessed the competent authority and appropriate
jurisdiction to gather and evaluate evidence and act based on their evaluation. They took action
consistent with their authority and their judgment in 2000. The only local church currently
possessing competent spiritual authority with appropriate jurisdiction in this matter is CRBC,
where Mr. Chantry is still a member.

The State of Arizona possessed the competent authority and appropriate jurisdiction to gather
and evaluate evidence related to criminal accusations and act based on that evaluation. The steps
in the judicial process of this case were carried out under the jurisdiction and control of the State
of Arizona; none of these steps were under the jurisdiction or control of a local church or the
Association. Consequently, any public statements or actions on the part of any entity, other than
the State of Arizona, during any part of the ongoing process of this matter would have been not
only inappropriate (and, at some stages, illegal) but also unbiblical.

We must emphasize the importance that the place and priority of competent authority and
jurisdiction holds in matters such as this case. No individual or entity has authority or liberty to
take any action related to such matters unless the entity (i.e. church or State) possesses
appropriate jurisdiction. After the exercise of such competent authority by appropriate
jurisdiction, other individuals or entities should act based on the facts, the evaluation of those
facts, and the actions taken by the appropriate jurisdiction. Until then, any actions regarding an
accusation either violate the authority and jurisdiction of the State or the authority and
jurisdiction of the local church and tend toward interference in the judicial processes of the State,
or toward gossip, slander, or schism among Christians and churches. Any investigation of an
allegation, evaluation of evidence/information, and determination of guilt or innocence
conducted by anyone or any entity other than the due process established by God, in the local
16

church or by the secular government with jurisdiction, violates God’s directions for handling
accusations and is itself sin. While such matters certainly draw the interest and concern of
individual church members, as well as local churches, we must exercise restraint, discipline, and
patience in responding to such interests and concerns. That restraint, discipline, and patience
must be directed by a robust understanding of God’s provision for competent authority and
appropriate jurisdiction in such matters and a submission to such authority and its processes and
outcomes.

In addition, the Ninth Commandment “forbids whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to
our own, or our neighbor's good name.”26 If the Membership Committee and/or the
Administrative Council had delayed the admission of the Hales Corners church or had informed
the delegates of the General Assembly of the allegation and investigation, it would have been a
violation of the Ninth Commandment. Delaying, since there was no constitutional or procedural
reason to do so, would naturally have raised serious questions and could have impugned Mr.
Chantry’s character or the qualifications of the Hales Corners church. Informing the delegates of
the General Assembly would obviously have done the same, as well as violated the gag order
imposed by the Prescott Police Department, thus breaking God’s injunction to submit to the
governmental authorities. The law of God thus forbade delaying or disapproving admission of
CRBC’s application for membership, as well as informing the delegates of the General Assembly
about the allegation and the investigation.

Summary
Conclusions

1) There is no evidence of any conspiracy or any individual actions or attempts to conceal
information from member churches, from law enforcement, or from the delegates to the
2016 General Assembly. The Membership Committee and the Administrative Council
did not have access to the informal council’s report of December 2000. It was not
possible, legal, or ethically permissible to reveal information from the informal council’s
report. Additionally, revealing information about the 2015 allegation and investigation
would have violated law enforcement’s gag order, as well as the Ninth Commandment.

2) The allegation and investigation could not be used as criteria by the Membership
Committee, the Administrative Council, or the delegates of the General Assembly for
evaluation of CRBC’s application for membership in ARBCA, due to the gag order and
the absence of constitutional and/or policy provisions specifying the use of accusations as
criteria for evaluation of applications for membership in ARBCA. This means, that even
if the gag order had been lifted, the knowledge of the accusation and investigation by the
delegates of the General Assembly could not have been legitimately used to disapprove
CRBC’s application, because there is no criteria in ARBCA’s Constitution, Policy
Manual, or past practice that authorizes the use of an accusation against an elder in
considering a church for membership in ARBCA.

26
The Baptist Catechism. Ed. James M. Renihan. The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, 2004,
p.21.
17

3) The handling of accusations, in any circumstance, must adhere to biblical injunctions.
The only spheres of authority for adjudicating allegations of sin and/or crimes against the
state are the local church, of which the accused is a member, and the governmental entity
possessing secular legal jurisdiction. Individuals, or churches other than the local church
with jurisdiction, or governmental entities without appropriate jurisdiction – or even
denominations or associations of churches – are prohibited from pronouncing
authoritative judgment. God has established spheres of authority and jurisdiction, as well
as systems of due process, for the purposes of administering justice. The usurpation of
such authority and jurisdiction by individuals or churches or associations rejects divinely
ordained systems of justice.

Recommendations

1) The General Assembly Planning Committee should consider including a session that
addresses the practical and biblical applications of the concept of "need to know", in
relation to sensitive or confidential information.

2) The General Assembly Planning Committee should consider including a session that
addresses the biblical spheres of authority and principles of due process for handling
accusations of sin and of criminal conduct. The session should include the responsibility
of individuals for relying on the due processes of the church and/or the state to handle
accusations of sin and/or criminal conduct.

3) The Theology Committee should be requested to consider the subject of associationalism
in the context of Baptist ecclesiology and polity for the circular letter for the 2020
General Assembly.

4) The Membership Committee and Policy and Constitution Committee should consider
drafting a policy provision to provide the Membership Committee the discretion to delay
processing of an application for membership.