Archive for March 3rd, 2010

An unaccountable “pastor”

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I stumbled across this news story about a child pornography bust:

Tampa, Florida – Even veteran detectives call this crime “disgusting.” A Tampa man claiming to be a minister is behind bars, accused of selling child pornography out of his home.

43-year-old Eric Spandorf allegedly downloaded and sold dozens of DVD’s filled with horrific images of child pornography…

(full news article here)

Apparently the accused man claims to be a pastor at something called Biblical Ministries.

Since the article gave a link to their website, I checked it out.   Sure enough, it lists Reverend Eric M. Spandorf as Associate Pastor/Crisis Councilor (sp).

Naturally curious about where the Reverend had obtained his M. Div. degree, and where he had been ordained, I clicked on the link to “Church Staff”, where I found the following:

Eric Mitchell Spandorf was born in the year 1966 In Brooklyn N.Y.  He lived there up until the age of 2.  At which time he moved to Plainview long island.  He was one of three children he had an older sister and an identical twin brother that died at the age of 16.  He attended Plainview High School which he graduated in the year 1984.  At the age of 24 he made the move to Florida where he resided in Orlando for 12 years at which time he moved to Kissimmee and now finally laid down routes in Tampa Fl.  He turned to the church out of feeling despair and disappointment in life and he now is a teen counselor.

That’s it.  Nothing about seminary, nothing about the ordination process.

This guy wasn’t a pastor, but a predator taking advantage of a wide open Internet to take advantage of the defenceless. Unfortunately many people reading about this case will take the Reverend title at face value, and the reputation of the church of Jesus Christ takes another blow.

I don’t doubt that there is a place for online ministry.  But I also believe that pastors must be accountable.  Obtaining the title of Reverend in the denomination that I’m a part of is a long, hard process.  I think that is a good thing.