Several weeks ago, news broke that John Blanchard, lead pastor of the 4000-member Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, VA, was busted by police for trying to hook up with an underage prostitute, joining 16 other men arrested who were caught up on the sting by law enforcement. Blanchard was quickly released on bail and appeared at the church service the next Sunday, blowing a shofar from the stage and offering a prayer, without addressing his arrest
A statement on the church website reads
“Under the guidance of our legal counsel, We cannot make a statement or comment concerning the accusations against Rev. John Blanchard at this time. We are all committed to walking in integrity and truth at Rock Church International and will continue to take steps to do so. Pastor Blanchard has voluntarily stepped back as lead pastor and from all his ministerial duties until this present situation is totally resolved. During this season, Bishop Anne Gimenez will be stepping in as Lead Pastor and sharing the pulpit with Pastor Robin Blanchard.”
We shared how this was not the first time Blanchard was accused of gross sexual sin, explaining how his church gave him a pass in 2019 and swept an illicit affair with a former member and employee of the church. At the time he suffered no consequences for it, but his public arrest is even more than they can bear.
Rock Church, now realizing that they might actually have to pull the trigger and deal with their pastor’s sexual sin, rather than sweep it under a rug, have updated their statement to express their newfound deep and abiding horror at the sin of it, and to reiterate how “committed” they are to ferreting it out wherever it may be.
Rock Church encourages godly lifestyles by all of its members and leaders, in keeping with the tenets of the Bible. The Church condemns sexual immorality of any kind and in any form by its members and leaders and especially holds its leaders to a high standard of accountability on any lifestyle choices that could reflect negatively on the reputation of the Church or disparage the character of the Savior whom it purports to represent.
Rock Church is committed to honesty and integrity in dealing with charges or accusations of sexual misconduct or immorality among its leaders and will support any investigation arising from accusations of violation of this standard among its staff and leaders in an effort to find the truth and to protect its members, church families and their children, at all times.
Under the guidance of our legal counsel, We cannot make a statement or comment concerning the accusations against Rev. John Blanchard at this time. We are all committed to walking in integrity and truth at Rock Church International and will continue to take steps to do so. Pastor Blanchard has voluntarily stepped back as lead pastor and from all his ministerial duties until this present situation is totally resolved. During this season, Bishop Anne Gimenez will be stepping in as Lead Pastor and sharing the pulpit with Pastor Robin Blanchard.
As followers of Christ, we must remember that redemption, salvation, grace, mercy and healing are all gifts given to the children of God. Although everyone must address their own convictions and consequences, our assignment as believers is not to condemn, but to be agents of God’s love, healing, justice, and reconciliation. (Romans 3:23-“for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”) If we are to walk in eternity with Christ, our position must be one of truth, love, faith, mercy, justice, and forgiveness.
Thank you for your prayers and support. The outpouring of love has been overwhelming and we appreciate all of those who have reached out to be an encouragement to us! We would ask that the privacy of the Blanchard family be respected as they walk through this difficult journey together.
Yesterday Blanchard was arranged in the Chesterfield County courtroom. He faces a felony charge of Solicitation of Prostitution from a minor age 16 or older, as well as a charge of Use of a Vehicle to Promote Prostitution. If found guilty, he faces between 1-5 years in prison. According to 13NewsNow:
“Blanchard’s lawyer asked that the judge consider changing the conditions of Blanchard’s bond which stipulate he cannot leave the state. The lawyer said there is church business outside of Virginia and that Blanchard travels for his job. (Note, given that he has stepped down from ministry, what would this be?)
Prosecutors objected to the defense’s request, based on the nature of the charges. The judge said another hearing was needed to consider whether the conditions of the bond should be changed. The judge set a hearing for Nov. 17.
The judge asked Blanchard to “maintain good behavior” until Blanchard’s trial which is scheduled to take place on Jan. 6, 2022.”
We will be following this story closely.
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