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Bethlehem Baptist pastor, Piper successor, resigns after allegations of abusive leadership

by Premier Journalist
Bethlehem_Baptist_Church_(Minneapolis).jpg - Banner image
Ed Kohler at Flickr

Bethlehem Baptist, the previous home of famous Evangelical author John Piper, had their lead pastor resign after members accused the pastor of abusive leadership.

Bethlehem Baptist has undergone a significant leadership shakeup over the last 6-8 months. At least four pastors have resigned from their staff position over internal conflicts involving abusive behavior by the church's leaders and elders. Now it has driven the head pastor from their leadership role. Jason Meyer was appointed head pastor after the church's founder, John Piper, retired in 2011 so they could focus on other parts of their ministry. Meyer was then appointed as his successor, taking over as the lead pastor.

Piper is the founder of Desiring God and the author of several popular Reformed books.

In a statement sent to the Roys Report, former Bethlehem Baptist pastor Bryn Pickering claims that the elders have consistently acted in a way that has harmed their membership. "There's unethical behavior. There's domineering. There's bullying. . . . cultural, damaging behavior that's being done, and has been done, for a long time." 

According to Kyle Howard, a preacher and racial/spiritual trauma counselor, local churches described their relationship with Bethlehem Baptist as a “white church within a Black space that doesn’t actually engage . . . or relate to the Black community.”  

The church membership felt necessary to form a task force to investigate the church's relationship with the Black church community in Minneapolis. However, Pickering claims that the elders accused the task force of having "woke" tendencies. The elders also contended that the task force's analysis was influenced by Critical Race Theory. The elders would eventually answer the task force's report with silence, seeming to push any task force members out of the church. Decisions like this have led to the elders reportedly driving several members from the church.

Bethlehem has not yet issued a public statement addressing these accusations.


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