Posted by: baptistthinker | November 3, 2011

Evangelist Sammy Nuckolls Arrested-Why It Needs To Be Discussed

I don’t usually make it a point to discuss issues of pastors being arrested on my blog. But in this case, I’m going to make an exception. Why? Because this guy lives in the town I live in, and I know people who are close to him. This is something that is deeply hurting people in our community.

The long and short of the story is, [All alleged by the police]Sammy Nuckolls was preaching at a revival in Gosnell, Arkansas just a week ago. He was staying in the home of a couple in the church he was preaching at. When the woman of the house went to use her shower, she noticed Sammy’s items on the sink, and one of the items was a large pen that was sticking out of his toiletries bag, that looked suspicious to her. She examined the pen, and discovered that it contained a USB port, and appeared to have a camera inside of it. She apparently then knocked the pen into the sink, and continued with her shower. After she got out of the shower, Nuckolls then entered the bathroom, collected his items, and went back into the room where he was staying. After Sammy left(presumably to go to the church), the woman and her husband searched Sammy’s belongings to find the pen, and then contacted the police. The police took Sammy in for questioning, and say that he admitted to purposely videotaping the woman, as well as two other women in my town. The police went through his laptop, and discovered several videos that appeared to have been taken of various women undressing(presumably in a bathroom, or bedroom) surreptitiously. Nuckolls was then placed under arrest, and posted $50,000 bond the next day. The Gosnell police department contacted the two women in our town who had been videotaped, and let them know of what had transpired. The Olive Branch police were then notified, and they began an investigation, and have apparently uncovered more videos going back years, all on Sammy’s computers. Victims are being identified, and there is at least one other town in Arkansas that is investigating the possibility of charges against Sammy Nuckolls as well.
Links:
Accused Voyeur Evangelist Faces Judge In Olive Branch
More Victims Of Peeping Preacher Surface
Traveling Evangelist Charged With Video Voyeurism
Police Report On The Arrest
Link to a Blog Post with considerably more links.

Sammy was a camp pastor for Lifeway’s Fuge camps. As of his arrest, Lifeway has scrubbed his profile from their site, and has explained their actions saying “In light of the legal allegations and evidence of moral failure, the desire of FUGE camps is to clearly communicate the immediate termination of Nuckolls and LifeWay’s zero tolerance acceptance.”

Now, many people that I have read after on Facebook, Twitter, various news sites, might prefer to stay silent mostly on this at this time. I think that’s the wrong approach to take now, especially as more and more details are coming out and more victims are being identified. Sammy Nuckolls has been conducting Bible studies in his home with young people, ranging from underage to 18 and up. It is important to note that the police have found NO videos with underage girls on them. Incredibly important to note that, because at least at this point, it says that Sammy had not fallen that deep. Not that this isn’t deep enough already, but let’s face it, we all would think of that as being significantly worse than simply videotaping adult women. But, people do need to be notified, and pastors need to tell their people “hey, this is what the police say he has done, because of this we recommend that the young people from our church do not go to his home for Bible studies.” I don’t expect that at this time Sammy is holding any Bible studies at his home, but if he continued to do so, it would be tragic if pastors failed to warn their flock of a man who is alleged to be preying upon women.

If the allegations against Sammy are true, that he admitted to the police that he videotaped women secretly while they were undressing, that he kept videos on his computers dating back years, then this is a very serious issue. It is gravely important, because this is a man who used a church office to prey upon women. He’s more than a porn addict, he’s a man who makes his own pornography by secretly videotaping women, while they think they are alone. These are women who place a certain amount of trust in him, because he holds a title that is deserving of respect. The churches who have used Sammy at their services, who have allowed their young people to go to his home for Bible studies, have a responsibility to their people to discuss this openly and honestly. They also need to be the first to step in and come alongside Sammy, to pray for him, to help his wife and child, and to also come alongside his victims and help them heal. We do not and should not abandon those who have been caught in sin who name the name of Christ. We should be praying earnestly for them, that the Gospel will be present in their life, and that by looking to Christ they will conquer their sins. But we shouldn’t stay silent on the matter and avoid discussing it. God’s glory is not made manifest in staying silent on the sin here. God’s glory is concealed and made less in the eyes of others by keeping quiet and discussing it only in backrooms. We must glorify God by showing a proper response to sin, by loving and caring for the victims, including Sammy’s wife, and by seeking to see Sammy restored. And if Sammy is unrepentant, he should be placed under church discipline by his church, and witnessed to by those who know him.

I have seen a number of responses to this already, on news sites, on Facebook, on Twitter. Many of the responses have been of the sort that say “he who is without sin can cast the first stone”, and “God sees all sin the same”. These responses are unhelpful at best, and a bit unbiblical as well. Yes, all sin is sin to God, it is an act of cosmic treason. But first and foremost, let’s recall that those who are teachers within the church must face harsher judgment before God(James 3), and they are to be rebuked before all(1 Timothy 5). Not all sins are totally equal in God’s eyes, except that all sin makes one worthy of eternal damnation. But God does indeed view some sins as more grievous. Only one sin is unforgivable however, and that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. As for the statement “let him without sin cast the first stone”, that passage is not saying that we cannot judge the sins of others. We can. We are supposed to do so, according to Scripture. Not judging those without the church, but those within(1 Corinthians 5). The “we all sin, and all sin is the same” is simply an attempt to excuse sin. It goes to the “well, he’s no worse than you or me”, but that’s not the point that should be made on this. The point that SHOULD be made is “this is a grievous sin. We are all sinners, we have all offended God, and we are all accountable for our sin. None of us are innocent before God, but we can be made innocent through Jesus Christ if we repent and put our trust in Him alone for our salvation. Sammy is a sinner in need of the Gospel, and we must condemn his sin, but we should also pray for him that he will repent. And the same is true of you, you must also repent or perish.” The other response has been to say “well, let’s just not talk about it, let’s just pray.” This response has been not just unhelpful, but results in the unsaved wondering why Christians are inconsistent. After all, we talk quite often about how homosexuality is wrong, about how living together outside of marriage is wrong, about how adultery is wrong, and yet when it comes to ministers like Sammy Nuckolls being arrested, we want to stay quiet and tell people to just keep quiet about it and that we can’t judge or cast stones.

Churches must find a way to deal with this in a mature, responsible, Biblical manner. Staying quiet and not addressing the issue will not make it go away. I don’t know how all the churches in this area who use Sammy Nuckolls have responded to this, but the silence so far has been deafening. Get it out in the opening, and shout it from the rooftops.


Responses

  1. Great post about a sad situation. May God be glorified in justice being served, and the church cleansed of this viper..

  2. I have met Sammy several times. I have been taking kids to Fuge for many years and have several friends that are very close to him. They are speechless and in shock.
    The position that he was called to is sacred and set apart to a higher standard by God. I don’t think that you understand what this has done/will do to the thousands of students and adults that have spent time in summer camps, D-now weekends, retreats, revivals and other speaking engagements around the country and the world.
    In one moment, years of Christ’s work was shattered! Many fir trees are crying because a mighty cedar has fallen(Zechariah 11:2). Don’t say that “he who is without sin cast the first stone” isn’t biblical. What Bible are you reading? To many christians try and read way too much into scripture and fail to stop and take the Bible for exactly what it says.
    Sammy pleading ‘not guilty’ is a slap in the face to every christian that needs to support him. Maybe you need to read I John 1:9 again! True cleansing requires confessing first. I don’t recall any weeping from him praying to our Jesus to cleanse his heart. All I saw was a man who got caught and kept quiet. Many who call me Lord, Lord…well, you know the rest!
    I pray for him and trust that he truly is repentant!!!

    • A: A man can preach good doctrine, without being of Christ, or without being a good person. Christ told his disciples to do what the Pharisees said to do, but not to act like the Pharisees. Why? Because the Pharisees taught well, and appeared good, but were in reality full of dead men’s bones. I think this is the case with Sammy. God certainly used His Word that Sammy preached, but that doesn’t mean that Sammy was one of his or that Sammy was in right standing with God. We know now that Sammy was not in right standing with God, that he was not living a life of repentance, because he kept videos going back years on these women. One can’t be living a life of repentance and trust in God and be keeping years of that sort of thing on their computer, living a lifestyle of continual sin.
      B: I never said that “he who is without sin cast the first stone” isn’t biblical. It is. But the way it is interpreted is usually quite unbiblical.
      And I agree with you, we must pray for Sammy, and for his wife and his victims most importantly. My first thoughts are with them, and then with him, that he might repent and trust in the Gospel to conquer his sin.

  3. Accountability happens in the context of community, relationships, and intimacy. I’m sure Sammy has those people in his life. Prayer, encouragement, and restoration is our job. ministering to those you know who are affected is your job. Public attacks from strangers are unwarranted. Be the church, not the courts. Earthly consequences are inevitable and necessary. Eternal payment has already been made for those who are children of God. Let’s shut up about it except for ministering to and speaking truth to those who are affected who trust us with that responsibility…those with whom we share deep friendships and intimacy. That’s true accountability and biblical community. Otherwise, let’s focus on ourselves and our own sins.

    • The church is to be a court, of sorts, judging those within the body. We can’t simply shut up about predators in the pulpit. Ask the Catholics how that ends up, or ask Baptists whose church has had a minister or staff member who has molested children or preyed on women in their church. Predators in the pulpit must be exposed. Their sin is to be named before all, and their repentance should be as notorious as their sin. Your answer is to ignore it and hope it goes away, unless you’re Sammy’s best friend. That’s not a Biblical response.

  4. The Bible also states that we are to be a covering to Sammy and his family. He should be allowed to repent and ask for forgiveness himself since the Bible clearly states that when we sin we confess we our mouths then we will be forgiven then healed.

    • O.N.-Yes. I agree. However, when you have somebody who has been living in unrepentant, continual sin for years and years, I would wait to see some fruit of repentance before trusting him again.

    • Catholics confess their sins every weekend, then continue as soon as they walk out of thier church. Cleansing comes with true confessing(I John 1:9b). Preaching makes you a christian as much as living in a garage make you a car! It’s very simple – If You Are, What You Was, Then You Ain’t!!!

  5. I like what you have said in your blog. Our church has taken students to several FUGE camps when Sammy was pastor and we have had him come to speak at youth revivals in our church. We love Sammy and are crushed to hear this news. We found out (in Texas) because one of our youth members had moved to live near Memphis and heard this on the evening news there. This student called one of our youth leaders. As a parent who has chaperoned trips, I was shocked. But, I also agreed we must bring it out in the open and not just allow gossip to fester. Our Wednesday night youth group on Nov. 2 centered around informing our youth, discussing the sin that was revealed, and praying for Sammy and his family. The adults did the same and our pastor made Sunday’s sermon about fleeing from temptation. I think we adults who thought we knew Sammy are reeling the most and our youth is disappointed that Sammy has not practiced what he preached. We are realizing we put him on a pedestal that he did not deserve. But, we are praying for him that he repents, is restored, and though he should not return to the same type of ministry, he can still somehow have a ministry that brings glory to God after this all blows over.

  6. I am so glad you posted this. I have spent probably a total of 2 weeks around Sammy in my entire life but he poured into me so much spiritually and out of all the pastors I’ve heard preach, his sermons are the ones I took to heart the most. When a fellow brother or sister in Christ stumbles and falls into sin, it is not our job to ridicule them and abandon them, but it is our job to encourage them and lift them up. I am so glad you expressed the thoughts that I have been thinking ever since I found out.

    • Sammy is no Christian. He preys on the innocent, who trust him.

  7. Amen. Well said.

  8. I am writing now in case any of your faithful readers are looking for an update on the Sammy Nuckolls case. It’s been 7.5 mos since his arrest. He is still unrepentant and still trolling the streets of MS. Did you ever buy a t-shirt or watch from Sammy where he said all the proceeds were going to feed starving orphans? “Buy a $20 watch – feed 200 starving children,” Well, he KEPT ALL of that money – tens of thousands of dollars – and YOU are now unwittingly funding his highly adept legal defense with ur purchases! Sammy has NEVER apologized to any of the over two dozen women and children he got caught taping. His lawyer just keeps on filing continuances and motions to drop the charges. Sammy is evil and devious and should never be trusted again by anyone in the church or the secular world. His fancy lawyer had him run over to AR over the Easter weekend to enter two quick guilty pleas while no one was looking (his preliminary hearing was scheduled later in the month and Sammy wanted to avoid the press.). Sam received two 5 year suspended sentences plus two fines (under $1,500 total) and was required to register as a sex offender. Both prosecutors in both Counties refused to offer him ANY plea agreement and both cited his ARROGANT, NON-REPENTANT attitude as the reason for NOT reducing charges. Check out his Prentiss County Sex Offender picture: http://www.prentisscountymssheriff.com/sex_offender_view.php?id=40

    A whole lot of ur readers claim to know this man. Have any of you ever seen him so happy? Does this look like the countenance of remorse and contrition? Sam also, temporarily, managed to avoid both State and National Sex Registries by registering only in Prentiss County (Booneville, MS his current residence of record) – his lawyers knew that this loophole existed. Thank the Lord that one victim followed through until that loophole was closed and now, at the very least, he is on the National Sex Offenders Registry for the next 15 years.

    Y’all can talk forgiveness as much as you want, but Sam specifically targeted high school girls and he filmed multiple minors, although for various reasons only ONE of the minor’s tapes is being charged in the state of MS. Sammy doesn’t want ur forgiveness because he doesn’t feel bad about what he’s done. There is not one single known case of Voyeurism Paraphilia that has ever been cured. Ever! Not even through chemical or physical castration. Sammy PICKED Youth Ministry as his career after he attended a Lifeway-FUGE Camp in Panama Beach, FL where in his own promotional material he claimed that was where his “excitement” for youth ministry was first inflamed. Sammy spoke to about 10,000 different kids every year, ages 11-18.

    He stands a good chance of walking on probation or no charges at all in every jurisdiction because this crime isn’t treated by law enforcement as seriously as it should be. But make NO mistake. Sammy WILL re-offend! He couldn’t stop taping girls long enough for his baby’s adoption to become final. And while out on bail, he talked his brother-in-law, SBC Ps. Matt Wilburn into letting him accompany Matt on his rounds as the Women’s Basketball Team Chaplain, at a MS regional university, so that Sammy could attend the devotionals in the locker rooms. Sammy isn’t even CLOSE to being repentant let alone slowing down.

    Baptist Thinker, it’s time for you to write an update on this story. His “new” trial date is 7-30-12, although his lawyer will undoubtedly keep filing new continuances. Please, BT, help protect the children of MS from this unrepentant evil-doer. What good is ANY church that feeds it’s most vulnerable lambs to the wolves just so the leadership doesn’t have to admit that evil in the pulpit does exist? Man is fallen, evil exists everywhere. But how about a few Godly men standing up and calling for the incarceration of this sinister video-rapist in order to protect future victims?? Sammy is embracing his sin and evil. Pray for justice and pray for the girls of MS!!!

  9. [...] few months ago, I posted about the arrest of Evangelist Sammy Nuckolls on video voyeurism charges. I just got an update on his multiple cases [...]

    • One day, Sammy will pay for his sins against God and man.


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