(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 express ongoing textual content messages with an grownup male,” in line with a statement 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 referred to as a “disqualifying scenario,” which the elders mentioned they turned conscious of yesterday.
“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 needed 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 devoted in marriage; the second says church elders “who’re sinning” must be reproved earlier than everybody.
After firing Ivey, the elders mentioned, they then found that Ivey, the husband of bestselling writer and popular 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’ve uncovered a number of related situations 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 mentioned.
The elders detailed a timeline of texts that they had found, alleging that they started in 2011 with the exchanges with a minor, which they mentioned that they had reported to the “applicable authorities.”
“The primary recognized occasion, which passed off with a teenage male sufferer and continued over time, concerned inappropriate and express communications, indecent publicity, and using 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 mentioned MinistrySafe, which trains the church’s workers to forestall baby abuse, has been alerted in regards to the scenario.
“As elders, we’re heartbroken for the victims and their households. Realizing the Lord’s sheep are value our safety and our love, we’re dedicated to loving this physique and rooting out evil. We all know this may increasingly have an effect on your belief as a result of we all know it actually has rattled ours,” learn the assertion.
Jamie Ivey, host of the favored podcast “The Glad 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.
Late Sunday, a put up on her instagram mentioned that within the wake of receiving “devastating information whereas on e book tour,” Jamie Ivey was pausing all public appearances. The put up, signed by her staff, requested prayer and assist “for everybody concerned who’re hurting.”
In 2021, the Iveys wrote “Complement,” a e book and accompanying Bible examine 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 “Devoted Husband, Sturdy Father: Embracing God’s Design for Manhood in Marriage,” that targeted on the position of biblical manhood in marriage.
The couple, who’ve 4 kids, together with three adopted Black kids, have additionally publicly talked about the challenges of living as a multiracial family in a majority white group and church.
Aaron Ivey didn’t reply to requests for remark.