Thursday, April 07, 2005

Judy L. Brown: Evangelical Author Who Attempted Murder Over a Lesbian Affair

On March 26, 2004 the Rev. Dr. Judy Brown, 51, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for breaking into the home of the Rev. Ted Smart in August of 2003 and attempting to kill him by hitting him in the head three times with a tire iron. (Smart wrestled the crowbar away from her.) Brown had carrying on an adulterous lesbian affair with Smart’s wife, Toby, and was attempting to kill Rev. Smart.

Brown was the pastor of Salem Covenant Worship Center in Roanoke, Virginia, which is a part of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Before that, Brown had been a professor at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, the flagship college of the Assemblies of God denomination. Not surprising, she lost her pastorate and her ministry credentials over this.

Here is the interesting thing. Judy Brown is one of the contributors to InterVarsity Press’ major new work, Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy. The book was published in October of 2004. The attempted murder was in August of 2003. And the conviction was in March of 2004.

Therefore, an evangelical publisher, IVP, published Brown’s chapter in their book over a year after Brown attempted to murder her lesbian lover’s husband, and seven months after Brown was sentenced to prison for her crime.

I wrote to IVP this morning with the following four questions. I indicated that I would post the above information—with or without their answers—by the end of the day. Here were my questions for IVP:

1) Is InterVarsity Press aware of the fact that Rev. Brown has been sentenced to prison for the attempted murder of the husband of her lesbian lover?

2) If so, when did InterVarsity Press become aware of this?

3) Does InterVarsity Press plan to include Rev. Brown’s chapter in forthcoming editions of this book?

4) Has, or will, InterVarsity Press issue any public statements in connection with this?

I will let you know if IVP responds to my questions. If they knew of her actions and published the chapter anyway, I would regard this as an unconscionable act.

Update: I just received the following note from Andrew LePeau, the Editorial Director at InterVarsity Press:

"InterVarsity Press first became aware of the trial of Dr. Judy Brown on April 7, 2005, when it was contacted for comment about the situation. InterVarsity Press has undertaken immediate efforts to confirm that this Dr. Brown is the same Judy L. Brown who is a contributor of an article to an IVP book. Once it has all the facts, InterVarsity Press will respond at a level commensurate with the seriousness of the situation."

Update: Here is a much fuller version of the original story as reported by their local paper.

Update: I have emailed Ronald Pierce and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, asking them (a) when they found out about Brown's crime and conviction, (b) if so, did they tell IVP, and (c) if so, what was IVP's response? I'll let you know if/when I hear anything back from them.