(RNS) — The Austin Stone Church, a multicampus evangelical church in Austin, Texas, introduced on Sunday (Feb. 11) that it had dismissed its head worship pastor after discovering he had engaged in “inappropriate and specific ongoing textual content messages with an grownup male,” in line with a press release from the church’s elders.
Aaron Ivey, the pastor of worship and creativity and an elder on the megachurch, was fired final Monday for what the assertion known as a “disqualifying state of affairs,” which the elders stated they turned conscious of the day before today.
“A number of elders had been made conscious of this example on the night of Sunday, February 4th and after reviewing the specific nature of those messages, it was clear that termination of Aaron’s eldership and employment was crucial in accordance with the clear biblical requirements outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20,” in line with the assertion. The primary passage, from the Apostle Paul’s Letter to Timothy, urges church leaders to be trustworthy in marriage; the second says church elders “who’re sinning” must be reproved earlier than everybody.
After firing Ivey, the elders stated, they then found that Ivey, the husband of bestselling writer and standard podcaster Jamie Ivey, had a historical past of texting with males, together with one who had been underage on the time of the specific texts, in line with the assertion.
“Since then, we now have uncovered a number of related cases with totally different people relationship again to 2011 that present a really clear sample of predatory manipulation, sexual exploitation, and abuse of affect,” the assertion stated.
The elders detailed a timeline of texts they’d found, alleging that they started in 2011 with the exchanges with a minor, which they stated they’d reported to the “acceptable authorities.”
“The primary recognized occasion, which befell with a teenage male sufferer and continued over time, concerned inappropriate and specific communications, indecent publicity, and the usage of alcohol and unlawful substances,” learn the assertion.
A spokesperson for the church, which has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conference, declined to supply extra touch upon the allegations and Ivey’s termination.
The elder assertion stated MinistrySafe, which trains the church’s employees to forestall baby abuse, has been alerted concerning the state of affairs.
“As elders, we’re heartbroken for the victims and their households. Realizing the Lord’s sheep are price our safety and our love, we’re dedicated to loving this physique and rooting out evil. We all know this will likely have an effect on your belief as a result of we all know it definitely has rattled ours,” learn the assertion.
Jamie Ivey, host of the favored podcast “The Completely satisfied Hour,” appeared on “Good Morning America” on Friday to advertise her new e-book, “Why Can’t I Get It Collectively?” Afterward, she posted on her Instagram that she was “off to China City with my man for some epic Chinese language meals for lunch!” It’s unclear whether or not she knew on the time of her husband’s firing.
In 2021, the Iveys wrote “Complement,” a e-book and accompanying Bible research about marriage. The couple subscribed to a complementarian theology of marriage, which emphasizes male management, and spoke on it usually. Aaron Ivey appeared on a 2019 panel hosted by the SBC’s Ethics & Spiritual Liberty Fee, titled “Trustworthy Husband, Robust Father: Embracing God’s Design for Manhood in Marriage,” that targeted on the function of biblical manhood in marriage.
The couple, who’ve 4 kids, together with three adopted Black kids, have additionally publicly talked concerning the challenges of residing as a multiracial household in a majority white group and church.
Aaron Ivey didn’t reply to requests for remark.