A former member of the popular Orlando Baptist Church in Florida who alleges in a lawsuit that she had an affair with the church’s recently resigned senior pastor, David Janney, 61, says it was the Holy Spirit that convicted her to confess her sin.
“The church is supposed to reach people. Even though I committed a sin, the Holy Spirit really, really convicted me and I wanted to come clean,” the woman, Arlene Miranda said in a WFTV interview.
Janney resigned from his position at the church on Sunday but church officials noted in a statement highlighted by WFTV that it should not be read as an admission of guilt.
“Pastor Dave Janney resigned as the Senior Pastor effective Sunday, February 7, 2016, not because the allegations against him are true, but because he felt his resignation was in the best interest of the Church. Orlando Baptist Church is saddened by the resignation of Pastor Dave Janney,” said the statement.
“He leaves with our love and support. As a church we desire to extend grace and love to all, in all that we do. The church will be forming a pulpit committee that will lead in the process of selecting a new pastor. Ultimately our church members will be able to ask questions of, and vote for, any new pastor,” it continued.
Miranda who says she has been a member of the Orlando Baptist Church since 2008 claims in a lawsuit filed against Orlando Baptist Church in late December however that in early September, 2015, Janney started making sexual advances towards her.
She said Janney texted her about his sexual fantasies about and over the Labor Day Weekend, of 2015, he asked her to meet him at the offices of World Hope, Inc. This is a house located on or near the campus of Orlando Baptist Church, where she alleges they engaged in sexual intercourse.
Immediately following the affair, however Miranda claims Janney continued to text her regarding the incident and its effect on him. Stricken with guilt, says the suit, Miranda approached another pastor in the church seeking religious and practical guidance and explained she had been involved in an extra-marital affair.
Initially, she was advised to seek biblical guidance but once the pastor learned that the person in the affair was Janney, he advised her that she had a religious duty to protect him, the church, and the Orlando Baptist Church community by keeping the affair quiet and silently repenting and praying.
She alleges that when Janney learned she had disclosed the affair he sent her threatening text messages regarding her and her children, and demanded she keep quiet about it.
“They threatened me and my children. And when I went to the people that I believed and that had taught me all these years about grace and mercy, they are the ones, who were the biggest ones to cover it up and not tell the truth. And not be honest,” Miranda told WFTV.
Miranda who alleges she was offered $3,000 for her silence was asked if money could have also been a factor with her coming forward and she dismissed the suggestion.
“It’s not about the money because if you look at the lawsuit, the lawsuit states what it’s trying to do. People can say that it’s about the money but if they look at it and think about it why would somebody sue for that amount and why would I, people who know me, know that I live a very simple life and there is something to be said when the Holy Spirit convicts you,” she said.
“Money can’t buy you peace. And I think that people need to know that when you feel the need to tell the truth about something that that is more powerful than any amount of money that anyone can give you,” she added.
She said she filed the lawsuit because the church threatened her.
“I came to these people and I told them what had happened. What I had done. David Janney did not go to them or to his family, his wife and his children and say ‘hey, this is what I did.’…Instead, he just took advantage of me and took advantage of his position as senior pastor and tried to scare me and he did scare me and it’s sad because I was a very involved member of Orlando Baptist Church,” Miranda said.
“Orlando Baptist Church said, our motto is ‘Grace for Today, Hope for Tomorrow’. Orlando Baptist Church the leadership? Their grace only reaches as far as that stage. Because they have shunned me. I have had people call me a lot of names. Send me messages, email and David Janney knows what happened that day. If you look at all the text messages. David Janney wasn’t pursued. He was out looking for me,” she argued.
“The truth is never hard. If you are completely honest, the truth is as solid as God’s love and if you’re not telling the truth that’s where all the problems come around. David Janney is covering the fact that he invited me to the church office with the intention of having sex. And that was not my intention,” she added.
She said she came forward with the truth because she wants to starts fresh and free herself from the burden of sin.
“I have always accepted my responsibility, that’s why I went to the church leadership before he did. He didn’t go to the church leadership. I went to the church leadership in September,” Miranda said.
“I feel awful about what happened. As Christians when we dishonor God when we let God down or when we sin period, when the Holy Spirit convicts you, you feel awful. It’s an awful, awful and sad situation not only for my family but for David Janney’s wife, his children and also the flock of Orlando Baptist Church. It has hurt them but you know something? Truth and coming clean and trying to get right, right off the bat is better than dragging it out trying to make a big cover-up and then standing in front of that church and denying. That’s what’s hurting the church,” she said.