When Don Jennings was ousted from his last church for helping to cover up the sexual and spiritual predation of his son, his wife and Clayton’s mother – Lisa – demanded the church give her the rights to a longstanding passion play directed by herself each year entitled Behold the Lamb. Being a major theatrical production for a small Indiana town, seeing the ‘show biz’ continue was important for Lisa, who used it to help propel her son into the spotlight.
Pulpit & Pen has spoken to members of Jennings’ former church who refer to Clayton as being a product ‘made’ by his parents. They recalled for us how Clayton would come out of his dressing room to play “hot Jesus,” a term Clayton and his friends used to describe him. Although this was off-putting to many in the congregation, Clayton’s parents didn’t seem to mind that their son was capitalizing upon Christ’s death to take the center-stage of fame. More than a few people told the Jennings family that Clayton seemed to be using his role as ‘Jesus’ for the wrong reasons – or at least in the wrong spirit – but they were ignored and shrugged off as critical to their child who, in the Jennings’ words, was ‘destined to be a star.’
Soon, Jennings’ church – under the pastoral leadership of his father – began to support the man’s playboy lifestyle, which he characterized as being an ‘evangelist. In recent days, Jennings has made admissions that his sexual promiscuity persisted during the time when he was receiving a stipend from the church to travel and speak so that “he could get his career started.”
The full weight and influence of Jennings’ father and mother were thrust into the service of making their boy a star. Their lust for his fame seems to have rivaled even his own.
When I called Don Jennings in 2016 to make a private allegation regarding Clayton’s sins in accord with the second step of Matthew 18, he immediately did what we have also seen consistently from Clayton; he chided us for being too critical and therefore, not worthy of being heard. The elder Jennings had argued that because we had written an article of polite theological disagreement with John Piper, we must be “hyper-critical.” He did not want to hear anything negative about his son, claiming that it had been “appropriately dealt with already.”
This father did not seem to grasp that we knew he already knew about Clayton’s ongoing victimization of women because some had already come forward to Don to talk about how she had felt sexually used by Clayton and recounted what can best be described as clerical sexual misconduct. Don, Clayton’s father, essentially let Clayton apologize and then encouraged them to “move on.” Along with Clayton, and Don, Clayton’s own mother, Lisa also knew of the behavior.
Both Don and Lisa had heard their evangelist son, who their church was financially supporting, admit to engaging in careless and promiscuous fornication while being a licensed minister of the church. Both Don and Lisa Jennings responded by sweeping their son’s sin under the rug.
It was this information that led Don and Clayton’s church to (eventually) remove both of them.
Pulpit & Pen has also talked to women who as a part of the process of seduction, met Clayton’s parents during the time of his engagement (or at least courtship) with the woman who is now his wife. We have every reason to believe that Don and Lisa Jennings knew beyond a doubt that Clayton’s sexual impurity was not a one-time incident but a pattern of unrepentant behavior.
Whatever becomes of Clayton Jennings, it is absolutely fair to say that it should reflect to some extent upon his parents, who
Perhaps the best way to understand the depth of the desire that Don and Lisa Jennings have for their sons’ fame, is the way they continued to promote his stardom even after knowing he had abused his position as clergy for lasciviousness and debauchery. Lisa Jennings, who had sat in the room that fateful day and heard Clayton admit to sexual impurity, went on afterward to continue having Clayton play the role of Jesus Christ in the Behold the Lamb production.
Jennings portrayed Jesus in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Don and Lisa Jennings certainly became aware of Clayton’s ongoing sexual immorality in 2015. Countless sources from Noblesville, Indiana, indicate that it would have been impossible for them not to have known about Clayton’s repeated pattern of behavior even far, far sooner. Everyone else, so it seemed, already knew it. It didn’t matter to Lisa Jennings…the show must go on. Jennings took to the stage as ‘hot Jesus’ even after she heard her son’s belated and inescapable confession.
These were the feet that played Jesus, nailed to the cross.
These are the feet of a man with his underwear around his ankles, sending a photograph of his genitals to an underage fan.
[Editor’s Note: We were going to show all the photos released tonight by Pastor Fredrickson. However, we made an editorial decision not to show the photos here because of their graphic nature in light of Ephesians 5:12. It is however readily available enough, elsewhere.]
These are the same feet, so says the pastor who released the information, the testimony of the victim, and finally, the visual and digital evidence presented to the world tonight in the webcast.
The second photo is the fault of Clayton Jennings and his alone. The first photo, however, is the fault of all those who knew he was unqualified to play the part of Jesus (whether on or off the stage), but who promoted him anyway. Don and Lisa Jennings are regrettably at the top of this list.
Like Clayton, when Don and Lisa Jennings left their church under a cloud of scandal, they attacked that poor congregation for doing what they – in their own pursuit of nepotistic fame and vicarious living – refused to do; to hold Clayton Jennings accountable for his sins.
Now, Clayton Jennings is facing some very real consequences in every conceivable way that consequences can come. He has sown the wind, and will reap the whirlwind. I’m afraid, however, that the younger Jennings did not sow that wind alone. He had enabling help and assistance along the way.
To parents who didn’t do their job of teaching and discipline…for local churches that winked at his behavior in the name of attracting a crowd…to wannabe tag-along friends like Blake Whitely and the clingers-on in his new Dockside podcast, on-and-on… to all of his Instagram and Facebook fans who regarded his persona above righteousness and more than his victims…shame on you.
Shame on all of you.
Stop. Repent. Learn. Repeat.
[Publisher’s Note: I want to specify that each of the women whose stories we told back in 2016
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