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Female Pastor Serving Eight Years for Attempted Murder; IVP Ceases Publication of Book

April 11, 2005

A female pastor and evangelical feminist scholar this month completed the first year of an eight-year sentence for attempting to murder the pastor of a sister church in Salem, Va., so she could continue a lesbian affair with his wife.

Judy Brown, former pastor of Salem Covenant Worship Center and one-time professor at Central Bible College, was sentenced on March 26, 2004, to 30 years (with eight to serve) for the attempted murder of fellow Assembly of God minister Ted Smart.

Brown is the author of numerous biblical and theological books and articles, including Women Ministers according to Scripture. She also helped edit and annotate the Spirit-filled Life Bible (Nelson), and contributed a chapter to InterVarsity’s Discovering Biblical Equality entitled “God, Gender and Biblical Metaphor.”

Discovering Biblical Equality was released late last year, several months after Brown’s sentencing. InterVarsity Press (IVP) officials say they did not learn about the incident until April of 2005 and will cease publication of the book. IVP plans to re-release the work without the article by Brown.

“This is a tragic situation for Dr. Brown, her victim and the many people associated with them,” IVP Publisher Bob Fryling said. “Although God does forgive and even uses the writings of confessed murderers and adulterers like King David, the Bible also has clear moral guidelines for Christians who shepherd others. Because this includes authors of Christian books and because we take this seriously at IVP, we made the decision to stop publication.”

Randy Stinson, executive director for The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, commended IVP for its handling of such a delicate matter.

“While we differ with IVP regarding the gender issue, we commend them for their swift and proper response to this tragic situation,” Stinson said. “No organization is immune to the impact of sin and this reminds us all as individuals to take heed lest we too fall.”

Details that emerged from Brown’s trial in early 2004 revealed a protracted adulterous relationship with Toby Smart.

Brown, who lived next door to Ted Smart, became involved in a lesbian relationship with his wife, Toby, according to reports from the Salem Times-Register. On the morning of Aug. 25, 2003, Brown entered the Smart home, slipped undetected into the basement and tripped the circuit breaker switch, shutting down electricity in the house.

When Ted Smart entered the basement to investigate the brown out, Brown bludgeoned him with a crow bar, striking him three times. Smart, though injured, escaped and called police. Brown was arrested and following a trial in early 2004, was found guilty on felony accounts of breaking and entering with the intent to commit murder, and malicious wounding. Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Fred King summarized the evidence during court proceedings by telling jurors that Brown and Toby Smart established a relationship while Brown was head of now defunct Life Bible College in Christianburg, Va. Brown lived in the basement of the Smart home for nearly a year before she bought a home next door, news reports show.

King argued that Brown planned, then attacked Smart because he was the only obstacle Brown saw to continuing her relationship with Toby Smart.

Following Brown’s attack on Ted Smart, police found two butcher knives, three pairs of latex gloves, a flashlight, two empty McDonald’s bags, a partially empty water bottle, a large plastic garbage bag, and the steel crow bar which Brown wielded in her attack on Smart.

Brown, however, told police she had no recollection of the assault. The sentencing phase of Brown’s trial included testimony by medical experts explaining psycho-physical factors that could have left Brown with no memory of her bludgeoning of Ted Smart, news reports show.

Brown was disciplined by her denomination–the Assembly of God–immediately following the incident. Brown is imprisoned in Pocahontas (Virginia) Correctional Unit and is not scheduled for release until Jan. 21, 2012. Virginia’s penal system precludes the possibility of early parole.

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