Earl Blackburn

This walk-through focuses on Earl Blackburn and his involvement with ARBCA and Tom Chantry.  He retired June 2019; was pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA

#1 Earl Blackburn & Timeline of Events

This document is an abbreviated version of the ARBCA & Timeline of Events timeline specific to Earl Blackburn regarding what we can ascertain from the currently available documentation.

#2 Informal Council’s Level 2 Report (12/16/2000) & Confidential Minutes (1/4/2001)

This document contains the Informal Council’s Level 2 Report and the documents that record that the 2000 AC was to receive a copy of it and actively concealed the fact that there were multiple levels of reports (picture of men on the 2000 AC, Confidential Minutes dated 1/4/2001, Telephonic Interview with Pastor Don Lindblad dated 3/21/2018 page 52 lines 17-20, Letter from Jamie Howell with Testimony of Bob Selph, and AC Report Part 2 page 13).

Level 2 Report

“That during his ministry at Miller Valley Baptist Church, Thomas Chantry did volunteer to tutor four children from three separate church families.  Each child was subjected to inappropriate physical discipline in the course of their instruction.” [Page 1, last paragraph]

“That there still remain serious factual differences between Thomas Chantry and the four children he disciplined during his ministry at Miller Valley.  These factual differences include the purpose, frequency and severity of the physical punishment.  It is recommended that the Elders who assume the oversight of Thomas Chantry [Tom Lyonand Mark McCormick] address these differences because it is the opinion of this informal council that his repentance may not be complete.” [Page 3, item 7]

“That Thomas Chantry endeavor to seek full repentance from each of the four children and their parents who have been the subject of physical discipline by him.  It is recommended that the Elders who assume the oversight of Tom Chantry [Tom Lyonand Mark McCormick] assist him with this process.” [Page 3, item 8]

Confidential Minutes

The AC received a report concerning the Council sent to Prescott, AZ, concerning the difficulties between former pastor Tom Chantry and the church. Three reports will be distributed: a general report to be sent to all the churches, a middle level report sent to all the AC members (to remain confidential), and a much fuller report to be given only to nine individuals involved.

Mr. McKnight is to e-mail the public statement to be inserted. Distinction of 3 levels of reports is to remain confidential!! Only the public statement is to be sent to the churches or noted in the public minutes.” [Page 9, item 2]

Don Lindblad’s Telephonic Interview

LINDBLAD: The other one was more public and it wasn’t distributed, it wasn’t mailed to everybody, uh, uhm, but it was the Administrative Council and – and, uh, and so forth had access to that, I had access to it. [Page 52, lines 17-20]

Testimony of Bob Selph

“The Council also wrote a signed report to the Administrative Council of ARBCA.  As they had been directed in Dykstra’s letter, they sought to ‘Summarize [their] findings and recommendations in a written document [they] all can sign.’  The Council’s specific recommendations concerning Tom Chantry were contained in this report to the Administrative Council of ARBCA.” [Page 3, item 2]

2000/2001 AC Members who were noted to receive the “middle level” report [Level 2 Report]: Bob Selph, Larry Vincent, Earl Blackburn, Steve Martin, Don Lindblad, John Giarrizzo, David Dykstra, Dale Smith, Mike McKnight, Bruce Kronheim, Tom Green, Jamie Howell, and Tom Lutz.  [Photograph]

#3 Informal Council’s Level 3 Report (12/16/2000) & Confidential Minutes (1/4/2001)

This is the report that the 2000/2001 AC sent to the ARBCA member churches in early 2001 and the Confidential Minutes that identify it.  There is no mention of the children or the violence they suffered at the hands of Thomas Chantry.

#4 Tom Lyon’s Report (1/1/2002) and Confidential AC Minutes (1/22/2002)

This document contains the “report of compliance” submitted by Tom Lyon and Mark McCormick and the Confidential page from the AC Minutes dated January 22, 2002.

Tom Lyon’s Report

“Thomas Chantry has undergone and completed the recommended “Biblical Counseling” as advised by the council.  This counseling was pursued under the oversight of the elders of PRBC [Tom Lyon and Mark McCormick] and was completed in December 2001.  A report of which has been submitted and is in the possession of those elders, who are satisfied with both its progress and conclusions.” [Page 1, item 3]

“…beginning in September [Tom Chantry] has preached regularly.” [Page 2, paragraph 3]

“This report is being sent to:

Tom Chantry

Walt Chantry

Earl Blackburn (chairman of the ARBCA Administrative Council)

Don Lindblad (witness to the informal council’s proceedings at Tom Chantry’s request)

The counselor mentioned in this report.

 We authorize Earl Blackburn to further publish this report to the elder(s) of Miller Valley Baptist Church and grant him permission to abstract this report to the ARBCA Administrative Council.” [Page 2, paragraph 5]

“Respectfully submitted:

Tom Lyon

Mark McCormick” [signature]

Confidential AC Minutes

“Pastor Tom Lyon sent a letter to Mr. Blackburn concerning Tom Chantry, which Mr. Blackburn read to the AC, commending Mr. Chantry’s progress in spiritual restoration, and suggesting that there is no impediment to a future wider usefulness in the church of Jesus Christ, having completed a course of biblical counseling recommended by the ARBCA ‘informal council.’  This letter is to be archived with the prior findings of the council concerning Mr. Chantry.” Page 4, item 2]

2001/2002 AC Members: Bob Selph, Tedd Tripp, Earl Blackburn, Steve Martin, Don Lindblad, John Giarrizzo, David Dykstra, Dale Smith, Mike McKnight, Bruce Kronheim, Tom Green, Jamie Howell, and Tom Lutz. [Photograph]

Why didn’t any of the men who were also on the 2000/2001 AC question why item #8 on the Level 2 report was not addressed, why the “serious factual differences” between what the children and Tom Chantry said, or why Tom Chantry was preaching “regularly” for 2 months before he had any counseling?

Men on both the 2000/2001 AC and 2001/2002 AC: Bob Selph, Earl Blackburn, Steve Martin, Don Lindblad, John Giarrizzo, David Dykstra, Dale Smith, Mike McKnight, Bruce Kronheim, Tom Green, Jamie Howell, and Tom Lutz. 

#5 Letters Between MVBC and Earl Blackburn (2/5/2002 and 2/13/2002)

After receiving Tom Lyon’s Letter of Compliance, MVBC sent a letter to Earl Blackburn.  This is their letter and Earl’s response.

#6 Report Written by Don Lindblad for Earl Blackburn (4/15/2002)

This document contains a report Don Lindblad wrote for Earl Blackburn regarding the Informal Council and the page from AC Report Part 2 that quotes it, identifying it as “Private Document 16.” 

“This review is written at the request of Pastor Earl Blackburn, Chairman of the Administrative Council of ARBCA.” [Page 1, paragraph 4]

“When I raised the issue again of Tom not being permitted to speak, which was the fourth time I had raised the question in three days, all three assented to the following: they could not allow Tom to speak because if they did he would have incriminated himself.  Once that happened they would not have been able to give him back his life in the way that they had.  They would be forced to deal with him differently.” [page 4, paragraph 4]

“Instead of pressing for some form of church discipline or civil charges, they told us they wanted to give Tom back his life.  They believed he had not been forthcoming, that he was far guiltier than what he was willing to admit, but they also believed he was a gifted young man and should return to the ministry someday.” [page 3, paragraph 3]

“Mike wanted to hear what Tom had to say about the various incidents, but that he should be cautious in responding because the investigators believed entirely what the children had told them.” [page 2, paragraph 1]

#7 Letter from Earl Blackburn to Rich Jensen, Mike McKnight, and Tedd Tripp (4/18/2002)

This document is a letter written by Earl Blackburn to the members of the Informal Council (Rich Jensen, Mike McKnight, and Tedd Tripp).  It was cc’d to Don Lindblad, Walter J. Chantry, and Dale Smith.  It discusses Earl Blackburn’s belief that Tom Chantry had been wronged by the IC and cites the “Report Written by Don Lindblad for Earl Blackburn dated 4/15/2002” multiple times.

“…you sought to be generous and kind to Tom Chantry by giving him an opportunity to deal with matters and, hopefully, in time, reenter the ministry.” [Page 1, 2nd paragraph]

I asked him [Don Lindblad] then, and later followed up that request with a phone call to write a report of the meeting and send it to me.  I have enclosed for each of you a copy of that report.” [Page 1, 3rd paragraph]

“What you told me and what he [Don Lindblad] wrote do not match up…In other words, brothers, I believe his written report.”  [Page 1, 3rd paragraph]

“Just as I predicted, serious and unsettling ramifications have followed the Arizona meetings.  Pastor Walt Chantry is very bothered that his son was not given a full and fair hearing, so much so that he has stated to me via letter that he will never have anything to do with ARBCA again.  Also, your refusal to allow Tom Chantry to fully address all of his concerns has caused prolonged problems in the Carlisle Eldership.  This does not include a number of other ARBCA pastors who have heard and are concerned about your refusal.” [Page 2, 4th paragraph]

“One, prayerful search your hearts and if you believe that Don is correct in his report and that you were wrong, then admit it to yourself and each other.  Two, individually write a letter to Tom Chantry acknowledging your wrong in this particular matter and ask his forgiveness.  Three, do the same with Pastor Walt Chantry.” [Page 3, 1st paragraph]

#8 Letter from Tedd Tripp to Earl Blackburn (8/26/2002)

This document is a letter written by Tedd Tripp to Earl Blackburn in response to the “Letter from Earl Blackburn to Rich Jensen, Mike McKnight, and Tedd Tripp dated 4/18/2002.”  It was also distributed to “the other members of the Informal Council” (Rich Jensen and Mike McKnight). 

“The claim, that we were unfair to Tom Chantry is an essential part of his ‘smoke and mirrors’ strategy to avoid acceptance responsibility for his actions.  Sadly, you, Don and Walt have fallen for it and thus fallen into Tom Chantry’s clever attempt to make himself the aggrieved party.” [Page 1, 2nd paragraph]

“It is my belief that had that [calling for a formal council] been done, Tom Chantry would have been found guilty and formal legal charges would have been filed by the parents of some of the abused children.  There is no doubt in my mind that Tom Chantry would have been found guilty in a legal proceeding and may even be in jail today.” [Page 1, 4th paragraph]

“…Walter Chantry should be filled with gratitude for what we did for his son.” [Page 2, 1st paragraph]

“None of Tom Chantry’s counter-charges against the elders in Prescott mitigated the matter we addressed, namely Tom Chantry’s abuse of the children in the church.  It had no bearing on the things Tom Chantry had done, but was just part of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ strategy.  It was a brilliant strategy; it worked with you.” [Page 2, 4th paragraph]

You should have called for a formal council.  If you had I do not believe that Tom Chantry would be teaching children today or teaching an Adult Sunday School in an Association church.  Ironically, Tom Chantry had managed to be out of legal jeopardy through the process we established and in a position to rehabilitate himself…” [Page 2, 5th paragraph]

‘I am curious about the number of ARBCA pastors who have heard and are concerned…Have you been discussing private matters with other men?” [Page 3, 1st paragraph]

“Tom Chantry’s strategy was to throw enough dust in the air by charging the elders in Prescott with their failings so that the matter would be an issue of disagreement between elders.  Tom Chantry, a trusted pastor, abused children in the Prescott church.  It would have been ludicrous for us to investigate whether the elders had followed every point of the church’s constitution in dealing with their pastor when the real issue was the pastor’s abuse of children.  We did not cooperate with Tom Chantry’s attempt to divert the focus away from his action and the fall out of those actions, to the matters of procedure and process with the elders.” [Page 3, 2nd paragraph]

You have not made private judgments and come to me personally, but you have made private judgments and also published them to Don Lindblad, Walter Chantry and Dale Smith…you also have spread that opinion to other brethren.” [Page 3, 3rd and 4th paragraphs]

“…I wish we had torn up the document recommended a formal council and gone home.  I firmly believe that the result would have been legal action taken against Tom Chantry for abuse of the children.” [Page 4, 1st paragraph]

#9 Letter from Rich Jensen to Earl Blackburn (1/21/2003)

This document is a letter written by Rich Jensen to Earl Blackburn in response to the “Letter from Earl Blackburn to Rich Jensen, Mike McKnight, and Tedd Tripp dated 4/18/2002.” 

“It was very clear that Tom Chantry wanted to steer the investigation of the Informal Council away from his culpability for possible crimes and shift it to the deteriorating relationship with the Elders.  I want to say this in the strongest possible language.  The council was well aware of what Tom was trying to do and would not allow it.” [Page 2, 1st paragraph]

“But any such discussion [about MVBC elders] had no bearing on his actions with the children in question.  It was at that time that Tom made the statement, ‘Then it doesn’t matter anymore.’  This statement confirmed our suspicions that Tom was trying to cloud the issue with his complaints against the Elders of Miller Valley.” [Page 2, 3rd paragraph; page 4, 1st paragraph]

“Tom was pleased with the outcome of the investigation but was not pleased that he was unable to pull the wool over our eyes.  And he has used Don, his father, and you to do harm to the body of Christ in general and to our association in particular.” [Page 3, 3rd paragraph]

You state that Don called you during the investigation to insist on certain things.  You told him to phone Tedd and plead with him.  You also warned him of your concerns of ‘serious and unsettling ramifications.’  I find this behavior highly irregular and questionable.” [Page 3, 2nd paragraph]

“I find his [Tom’s] actions reprehensible and his attempts to mask his culpability equally distasteful and sinful.” [Page 4, 2nd paragraph]

“This whole matter has left a very bad taste in mouth [sic].  I believe it speaks very badly for ARBCA and some of its members…How did they hear about the actions and why?…If someone has a bad opinion of me based upon rumors and gossip and never comes to me personally, I can do nothing about it.” [Page 4, 5th paragraph]

“I do not believe that Tom has complied with either the letter or the spirit of the document he signed.  Instead he has sown seeds of discord among the churches.  And Don, though I do not believe he acted maliciously, has done the same.” [Page 5, 2nd paragraph]

#10 Email from Don Lindblad to Steve Marquedant titled “A Possible Approach to MVBC” dated 9/4/2015

“The AC already approved Tom’s ‘rehabilitation,’ and an email was sent to the churches to that effect.  ARBCA has already weighted in officially on the matter.  All objections were dealt with in letters by Earl and myself before the AC unanimously decided to approve Tom Lyon’s report.” [Second paragraph]

“Tom fulfilled the requirements of what he signed TO THE SATISFACTION OF ALL EXCEPT MVBC. (Rich Jensen did object, but Earl and I responded and nothing more was said.)” [Third paragraph]

#11 ARBCA Announcement (4/2017)

This is the statement ARBCA released at the 2017 General Assembly.  It has been said that the men who wrote this statement simply didn’t know that what they wrote was untrue.  However, many of the men on the Administrative Council responsible for writing this statement had access to information that contradicts this statement. 

Earl Blackburn was Chairman of both the 2016 and 2017 Administrative Councils.  He was a member of the 2000 AC noted to receive a copy of the Level 2 Report.  As Chairman of the 2000 AC, he requested that Don Lindblad write a special report about the Informal Council in 2000 just for him.  It details the events of the Informal Council and describes how the men of the IC believed the children but still protected Tom.

#12 First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA Resignation (9/27/2019)

This document is the resignation that First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA posted on their website (http://fbcclintonla.com/about-arbca.html).  It contains their list of charges and Timeline of Actions Taken by FBC to Address ARBCA’s Mishandling of the Tom Chantry Matter. 

“1. In 2000 and beyond, ARBCA’s officials failed to protect the children abused by Tom Chantry and failed to aid them in obtaining the justice due to them (Ps 103:6). In 2019, ARBCA’s GA failed to reach out to those abused by Tom Chantry, to acknowledge the wrongdoing of the ARBCA council, to ask forgiveness from the victims, and to seek to make amends in any way possible (2 Sam 21:3; Lk 19:8).”

“2. Recently discovered documents in July of 2019 prove that ARBCA’s 2000 Informal Council knew of Tom Chantry’s child abuse and failed to report it to law enforcement (Rom 13:1). This failure to report to the authorities had the effect of exposing more children to danger and denying justice to Chantry’s victims (Ps 82:3-4; Is 1:17).”

“3. ARBCA’s 2000 Informal Council failed to recommend that Miller Valley Baptist Church discipline Tom Chantry, which is what the Scriptures require (Matt 18:15-20), and instead resorted to a biased and unbiblical program of restoration so that Chantry’s ministry could be preserved (1 Tim 5:20-21).”

“4. The formation of the 2000 ARBCA Informal Council by Walt Chantry, Bob Selph, and ARBCA’s 2000 Administrative Council was both unbiblical and contrary to ARBCA’s confession of faith, which does not permit “informal councils” (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22-25; 2LCF 26.15).”

“5. The allowance of “sealed reports” facilitated the cover-up of a crime. Sealed reports from an ARBCA council are a violation of Scripture and ARBCA’s confession of faith, which requires that all advice given by church councils “be reported to all the churches” (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22-25; 2LCF 26.15).”

2000/2001 AC Members: Bob Selph, Larry Vincent, Earl Blackburn, Steve Martin, Don Lindblad, John Giarrizzo, David Dykstra, Dale Smith, Mike McKnight, Bruce Kronheim, Tom Green, Jamie Howell, and Tom Lutz. [Photograph]

2001/2002 AC Members: Bob Selph, Tedd Tripp, Earl Blackburn, Steve Martin, Don Lindblad, John Giarrizzo, David Dykstra, Dale Smith, Mike McKnight, Bruce Kronheim, Tom Green, Jamie Howell, and Tom Lutz. [Photograph]

#13 Earl Blackburn Retired (June 2019)

The following sermons were preached for Earl Blackburn’s retirement.

Faithful Servant by Steve Martin https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=630191726423452

Remember Your Leaders by James M. Renihan https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=630191729341935

36:08 “Our leaders must exemplify Godly lives.”

43:31 “Remember his way of life and its outcome.”

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