NorthEast minister takes leave

There are 321 comments on the Lexington Herald-Leader story from Oct 17, 2006, titled NorthEast minister takes leave. In it, Lexington Herald-Leader reports that:

Whit Criswell, senior minister at Lexington's NorthEast Christian Church, has taken a leave of absence after acknowledging 'inappropriate behavior' with a female church staff member.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Lexington Herald-Leader.

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Jim and Charlotte Jordan

Finchville, KY

#1 Oct 18, 2006
My family and I have known Whit and Sandra Criswell for many years. We met them through our membership at Southland Christian Church and our daughters shared the same love for softball during High School and College. From our involvement at Southland and our daughters love for the game a close relationship was formed between our two families.

We have never met finer people in our lives. We felt so close to Whit and thought so much of his Christian life that we asked him to preach my brothers funeral 9 years ago, even though he had never met my brother. He and Sandra both were such a help to us during that terrible time and we have always felt we had shoulders to cry on and comfort to receive anytime we called on them.

We are so saddened by what has happened, but we know in our hearts the love they both have for the Lord will not be tarnished. Whit and Sandra are wonderful people and I hope and pray they will surface from this in a victorious way.



Charlotte Jordan
Lexington, Kentucky

Jane Christie

Frankfort, KY

#2 Oct 26, 2006
It might be worthwhile for the elders to investigate Mr. Criswell's past very thoroughly. While people do sometimes change and leave old habits behind, sometimes it is just a lie. It is very sad that the actions of two prominent people within a congregation may reflect poorly on others who are truly trying to live by God's Word.
finally people can see

Coxs Creek, KY

#4 Oct 26, 2006
I'm so glad to hear that there are other people out there that feel they way I do about Mr. Whit Criswell. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing who has affected many young lives negatively. The truth will come out some day. Hopefully sooner than later. If people dig a little deeper they will find out that he is truly a sick person.
To you Mr. and Mrs. Jim Jordan; you have no idea the pain that his actions have caused in the past and continue to do so.
anonymous

Australia

#5 Oct 27, 2006
Does anyone honestly think that Mr. Criswell and Ms. Stefanovich would have come forward and admitted their indiscretions had they not been caught? No, they wouldn't. Mr. Criswell has the public fooled and its a shame he pretends to be such a righteous man of God.
Come Clean

Carrollton, KY

#6 Oct 30, 2006
I hope that NorthEast is not thinking of letting Whit Criswell come back as their Minister. Not only is he an adulterer, but also a thief, liar, hypocrite and the worst a predator. He has been for years. He has the majority of the public fooled. Even an elder (N.B.) at the church knows the extent of his crimes but chooses to keep them a secret from the people that Whit preaches to everyday. Yes we all know about the gambling, embezzlement and adultery but there is still more that he has not admitted to. "Come on now Whit, its time to come clean!"
STOP IT

Dayton, OH

#7 Oct 31, 2006
STOP IT CHRISTIANS. STOP condemning our brother like YOU'VE NEVER SINNED.
"FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:23-24
"Therefore, There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, the whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned..." John 3:16-18
Stop acting SUPERIOR and start LIVING as Christ commands us to. The GREATEST commandment:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and wth all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37
Amen

Hartwell, GA

#8 Nov 1, 2006
Amen Stop it. You hit the nail on the head. Christians don't cast stones. No one but God is perfect. Our prayers are with Whit and his family.
Sara

Worthville, KY

#9 Nov 1, 2006
Amen!

please contact me at harperrenee@yahoo.com my family and I feel the same way and are devastated over losing whit and feel very hipocritical knowing how everyone is talking about him when we've sure never lived "sin free" lives
If you only knew

Carrollton, KY

#10 Nov 1, 2006
You obviously donít know the depth of pain Whit has caused a number of families over the years. We just want him to come clean and apologize to the ones he has hurt. No one is perfect but when you do wrong you should be a man especially a man of Christ and admit to those wrongs. My prayers are with Whits family NOT WHIT! He thinks that he has gotten away with it but the truth will come out!
Give me a break

Southfield, MI

#11 Nov 1, 2006
No one is claiming to have lived sin-free lives. Hello, people, he cheated on his wife! A wife who stood by him through all of his other "misfortunes." And Anonymous up there is the one who "hit the nail on the head." This would have never been brought to light if he hadn't been caught! He is not sorry for what he did. He's sorry he got caught. He sorry he can't use the title of preacher to get away with all of the disgusting things he's done and most likely will continue to do. He has you all fooled. He is a man who uses the title of "preacher" to hide behind, thinking that no one would suspect a preacher of the despicable crimes he's committed. I have no doubt that the truth will come out and whe it does the impact it will have on this community will be unlike any other we've ever seen.
Truth will win

Lexington, KY

#12 Nov 1, 2006
Yes, Christianity is about forgiveness but it is also about truth and repentance. Mr.Criswell has committed far more grievous sins than adultery and lying. His sins were (and have been) committed against people who were unable to defend themselves, people who trusted a man who was willing to shatter their very souls in order to satisfy his own dark needs. You may pray for him and his family but remember in order to be a true Christian, you must crave the light of God's truth and not be willing to accept anything other than a complete and total confesssion. Mr. Criswell's type of disease thrives in the darnkness and is enabled by other who are unwilling to shine the light on it because they do not want to admit that they were lured in by this expert conman.
Scott

Dayton, OH

#13 Nov 1, 2006
Hi friends, this situation has obviously stirred up a lot of emotion...anger, frustration, sadness, and even hope. It's natural. These are tough things to deal with. Yet, how we respond as Christians is vitally important to the health of the church. Why does that matter? Well, because the thing closest to Jesus's heart is the church. I'm sorry for all those who were hurt by this. I really am. I empathize with your pain. I myself have been through a similar ordeal at a church in Louisville. And it was destructive to the entire body of believers. Over half of the church left. Resignations were called for. Legal action was taken that stretched the pain out over several years. It was ugly. Please let me say this...Jesus built his church upon Peter, the Rock, a man who denied him right before His death. A man who committed a sin that God views no different that this situation. In God's eyes, sin is denying Jesus. That is what happened here. We are all guilty. Jesus dealt with that sin by hanging on a cross. Right before he did that, he said go and make disciples. He was calling the 12 to build his church. It is crucial to understand this. And the fact that Jesus used Peter to build His church says a lot about Jesus's ministry here on earth. Forgiveness is always tied to repentance. And it is the positive ministry of the Holy Spirit that will break a person in a way that makes them cry out for forgiveness, and for help. Is church discipline necessary? Absolutely. But on God's terms. Unforgiveness on our part will lead to a hardened, critical heart over time. You see, Satan's plan is to tear down that Jesus loved most, his church. His plan was not simply to entice this man and woman into an adulterous relationship, but rather to use it as an opportunity to engage Christians to tear down the church, Jesus's treasure. Do you see that? So, as the church, how do we respond to something like this? We certainly don't pour salt on open wounds. Rather, we come together and unify against this attack. We seal open wounds with with the blood that poured from Jesus's wounds on the cross. We forgive and pour out compassion in that same way. Love is our greatest defense. It is also our greatest weapon. Let's not confuse righteous anger with unrighteous judgment. There is a big difference. The former leads to brokenness and cleansing, the latter to destruction and turmoil. As a poster above mentioned, the entire bible can be summed up by this - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. You might find yourself saying, that is a weak attitude. No. Jesus loved those who seemed unlovable. He restored those who appeared unreachable. Friends, that is a position of strength. Be strong in the Lord your God. Build one another up. Use love to topple our enemy. Grace and peace to all of you.
Mark Lohman

Whittier, CA

#14 Nov 2, 2006
Whit and Paula....Nothing can change the positive eternal effects you have had on people's lives for the kingdom for all time and eternity. The people who post anonymously on this or any other site are cowards. If their allegations are true, then they should have the class and character to handle it according to biblical principles and not in a public forum. Take care and God Bless You and your families as you begin the process of forgiveness and restoration.
A coward speaks

Lexington, KY

#15 Nov 3, 2006
The allegations were taken to an elder in the church and he decided then and years ago not to make them public to the anyone else, he said people should overlook them because of the age of the victims.
Tell me why

Middlesboro, KY

#16 Nov 3, 2006
Why is Paula Stefanvich still on the staff while Whit Criswell resigned? I am sorry, but I don't want to sit in the congregation and watch her flit around on the stage. It is just not OK. Take it from someone that has been cheated on and ironically Whit counseled during that painful time of my life. My prayers are for the spouses.
Abi

Worthville, KY

#17 Nov 3, 2006
[QUOTE who="I am sorry, but I don't want to sit in the congregation and watch her flit around on the stage. It is just not OK.[/QUOTE]

I'm sorry you were cheated on, I know thats a very painful position to be in, been there too. But you know, I feel sorry for you. I understand that you might not feel comfortable watching Paula but why should she have to leave to please you? Have you thought that perhaps everyone doesn't feel the same way you do. I for one thing that it's Jesus's blood thats on trial. Can it cleanse them or not? I'm sure not perfect, and I"ll be taking my seat there sunday like I did all the sunday's before, and my heart will be broken and I will leave sobbing like I did last week if we lose Paula too. I'd be interested in watching your video declairing your sin before the church, since Im sure your not perfect either. In fact, I'd like to see everyone's video. God made NONE of us sinless, except for his son, who died to save us. I think Paula and Whit both have been forgiven by God, too bad SOME of you can't follow suit.

What would Jesus do???
Mark Lohman

Whittier, CA

#18 Nov 3, 2006
Jesus would bend down and write in the dirt, while one by one, all of the accusers left. Then he would say, "Neither do I condemn you, go your way and sin no more"
Mike

Lexington, KY

#19 Nov 4, 2006
I agree. I, too, am a convicted felon, and Child of the Holy God. My heart is broken, but I must say that as Christians, it is not our place to judge. My faith in the Lord and in Whit, as a brother in Christ, is not shaken. God FORGIVES! People change. As Whit said in his testimony, and I paraphrase, sin will expose you in the end. While I am saddened that this has happened, it has been brought to the light, and taken by Whit and Paula to the foot of the cross for forgivness that can only come in the Blood of Jesus. Please, friends, let's not put that blood on trial. We must forgive as God forgives us... Forgiven and Forgotten.
Greg

Lexington, KY

#20 Nov 4, 2006
I am a member of NorthEast and I videotaped the confessions of Whit and Paula to be played before our church family. No fun. If you are going to post any information on this subject, please make sure it is the truth. God deserves the truth be spoken. If it is gossip, keep it to yourself. If it is information on criminal activity, give it to the police. If you need someone to talk too, you can find me right in the assembly with the camera ready to vidoetape any confessions to play before our church family. I will stay behind the camera and spend my time speaking with
God on the sins I have committed and hopefully one day be able to Go and sin no more. Until then, thank you Father for your forgivenss!
Lori

Prestonsburg, KY

#21 Nov 5, 2006
Thank you, Scott, thank you! There is such compassion and healing in your words - words that I believe Jesus led you to express. I appreciate that we must seek Truth always! But let us remember that we are to love and forgive in order to restore and reconcile.

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