Monday, January 15, 2018

Andy Savage on the Ben Ferguson Show

Transcript Comparison for the Ben Ferguson Show with Andy Savage WREC 600AM
Live on radio Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:00pm CST – fair use for analysis & critique


UPDATE: This post was originally published in the early morning hours of January 15th, 2018.  Later that day, at 1:23 PM, Ben Ferguson tweeted that he asked his producer to upload the interview with Andy Savage again, this time with "all the commercials included."  These newly uploaded files contain the clips that were omitted in the original upload to the 600 WREC site.

Audio of The Ben Ferguson show live on Monday, January 15, 2018 addressing the edited Andy Savage interview:


Two sound files published on web and linked by Highpoint Church Friday, January 12, 2018

*This transcript comparison does not include breaks and the host’s lead-in/lead-out from breaks unless otherwise noted.

BF = Ben Ferguson, host of the Ben Ferguson Show, a friend of Andy Savage

AS = Andy Savage, teaching pastor of Highpoint Church, Memphis, TN, who has admitted to a sexual ‘incident’ with a 17-year old girl in his care in 1998 while on staff as the youth pastor at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, now known as Stonebridge Church.

FIRST FILE. Published Version is identical to Live Version for the first 10:37

10:29 Last words where transcripts match:

AS: “Reiterated to her the partial confession”

BF: “This is how many hours after the …

AS: “Same day”

BF: “So you’re talking the next day after this happened, you’re meeting with the mom of Jules”

AS: “Yeah”

10:39 Transcript of the Live Version that was edited OUT of the Published Version (0:20) [see omitted clip #1 below]

BF: “All right, welcome back, it is the Ben Ferguson Show, um, Andy Savage, Highpoint Church, who is on with me today, um, and we are talking about, um, this issue, where a young girl in Texas, 17 at the time, um, has come out and said that 1) the church didn’t handle this correctly... ”

10:39 Continues after edit where transcripts match again

BF: “… um, 2) that you guys had an inappropriate relationship, um, it is brought up the bigger issue here with churches and leadership and everything else, Andy is here telling 


Published Version is identical to Live Version for first 15:45*

15:45 Last words where transcripts match:

BF: “…people believe it was still a crime. That, y’know, you were a pastor. Uh, one said he is disqualified from ministry. Um, should you quit? Should you resign? Uh, why are you still in the ministry? Are you gonna leave the ministry because of all this?”

Transcript of the Live Version that was edited OUT (1:23) [see omitted clip #2 below]

AS: “Um, uh, Ben, I did resign, um, when this happened. Twenty years ago, I resigned my position, I stepped away from ministry completely, for a season, um, and I engaged a redemptive process in my life. Uh, I maintained relationships, uh, with key pastors and counselors in my life, I maintained relationships with, uh, transparency, and uh, openness with people, uh, that uh, were trustworthy leaders in my life, uh, and I have rebuilt a life where I have changed, um, to the degree that the lessons I learned through this experience, um, allow me to help people in a way, um, that I-I never would have any other-other way.”

BF: “A lot of people are saying the only reason why you’ve been able to help people, and again, I say this bluntly, because I think it’s important, because you didn’t fully disclose this to the membership at Germantown [Baptist Church] when you were there, the membership at Highpoint [Church] when you were there. That this has been somewhat omitted from your ministry. Is that, is that a fair, way to put it, because a lot of people found out about this, that there was even an incident in Texas, because of a newspaper article, or they came to church on Sunday morning.”

AS: “I have, uh, over the years, been very willing to share, um ...”

16:05 Continues after edit where transcripts match again for just 10 seconds

AS: “… elements of this story, uh, through my sermons, through my teaching, uh, and, in more detail with specific individuals um, uh, as …”

16:15 Transcript of the Live Version that was edited OUT (2:05) [see omitted clip #3 below]

AS: “As opportunity would, uh, would deem helpful. Um, uh, but, but no, I did not, uh, broadcast this information to the entire congregation.”

BF: “Are you sorry for that, to, to the, to – and I say this, forget everybody else, I’m talking about the people at the church, are you sorry that you didn’t be more transparent? Do you feel like you misled them by, by not broadcasting this, as part of your story?”

AS: “No, I believe I was honest and transparent with the leadership at Highpoint, um, and I think that was, uh, the right place for that information to exist.”

BF: “Let’s talk about the-the real issue, and that is, there are um, people that have started petitions to get you to force you out, to resign. Um, there are people that think that honestly you should be dead, uh, milder than that, there are people think you should be in jail. Um, if I was sitting in, y’know, in the chair you’re in right now, I think there’s a large part of me that would think, ‘Why don’t I just resign, and just go away?’ Um have you thought about resigning in the last week since all this became so public, where it’s on the front pages of literally every newspaper in the country?”

AS: “Yes. On several occasions in the last few days, I have wanted to quit.”

BF: ‘Have you offered your resignation?”

AS: “I did.”

BF: “When?”

AS: “On, uh, Sunday [January 7, 2018], I offered to Chris [Conlee] that I would resign, if that was in the best interest of our church”

BF: “What did he say to you then? I mean, because most people would think that it was a ‘no brainer’ um, you have all this turmoil, and you’re resigning. Yes, I’ll take that resignation and run with it.”

AS: “That would certainly be the easy thing to do. I cannot speak for him. I can speak about him. Uh, Chris [Conlee] and the leadership at our church, uh, believe, uh, what we have said, since we started the church, we believe in a perfect place for imperfect people. Um, we believe, that, um...”

16:15 Continues after edit where transcripts match for the last 7:04.

AS: “… uh, some of our greatest sins and failures, um, all of our greatest sins and failures, can be overcome...”

Omitted Clip #1

Omitted Clip #2

Omitted Clip #3

Full Interview Part 1 (original upload)

Full Interview Part 2 (original upload)

The deletion of the comments discussing Andy's restoration process is significant.

Many readers may not be aware of the process, since it is generally not made public.  It may help church members to understand and ask how has Andy Savage legitimately been restored to ministry?
After a major fall involving sexual misconduct with a flock member some churches will choose to pursue restoration.  Biblically, they should not, because the Pastor can never again be above reproach, but many still do.  But there are high standards before a restoration can take place.  
1) After such a major violation of trust, the restoration process would be both lengthy and rigorous.  Andy could not have gone through it at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, because he left the Woodlands and returned to Memphis at the conclusion of the investigation.  WPBC had no further spiritual authority over Andy.  They are also 570 miles away from Germantown.  It would be up to Andy's home church of Germantown Baptist (GBC) to oversee his restoration and future conduct. 

2) Andy states that he did not tell anyone at GBC about the "incident".  His excuse was "they never asked".  Regardless of the excuse, Andy's claim is that no one at GBC leadership knew of his sin/crimes.  

3)  Even if someone at WPBC had offered oversight for restoration, this process could not be completed without them speaking to Andy's then current home church, GBC.  It is imperative to the restoration process that the church with the spiritual authority over Andy be in charge of the oversight process.  Having some "mysterious" unnamed wise men speaking into his life is not a restoration process. 

4)  Andy could not have completed his restoration process and have continued to conceal his sin/crimes to GBC while simultaneously becoming a pastor at GBC.  This is an extremely egregious concealment as it gravely endangered the young members of the flock there.  No true wise counselor or godly pastor overseeing Andy's restoration would have ever gone along with this concealment as part of the restoration.  They would have demanded to speak with GBC leadership before Andy returned to ministry, to ensure that safeguards would be in place for the good of all involved. 

5) How could Andy have received spiritual restoration from Chris Conlee,  the one man in Memphis who claims he knew about Andy's sin/crimes upon is return to the city. Chris didn't become a pastor until he planted Highpoint in 2002. Up until then, Chris was pursuing a career in golf.