Duggar Family Pastor on Josh's Molestation Scandal: God 'Can Forgive Everything'
The famously conservative Duggars seemed to be models of wholesome family life, but son Josh was hiding a dark past: He allegedly molested five young girls as a teen. Subscribe now for an inside look at the Duggars’ dark family secrets, only in PEOPLE.
Amidst the Duggars’ family crisis, one of their pastors is speaking out about the recent allegations that Josh Duggar molested five underage girls when he was a teenager.
The Duggars’ pastor, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, 59, of the five-branch Pinnacle Cross Church in Rogers, Arkansas, tells PEOPLE, “Everyone does wrong, and what was wrong was very wrong as to what was testified to and it’s completely unacceptable.
“But I’m thankful, whether it’s him or any other one, that I serve a God who can forgive everything.”
Floyd, who has been a pastor for over 37 years and served as the Senior Pastor of Cross Church since 1986, went on to say he was very surprised by the recent scandal.
“All of us were surprised by the news because … their reputation in Arkansas is that they are a very Christian family.”
Floyd said his “evangelical Christian ministry is alive and well” despite the scandal. The Cross Church has rapidly grown to five campuses and the Pinnacle Church holds about 2,000 people. “Things like [the scandal] have happened before and will happen again,” says Floyd.
Andy Wilson, executive pastor of the church, told PEOPLE that Josh’s sister, Jill (Duggar) Dillard, and her husband Derick are active members of the church. 19 Kids and Counting fans may remember Jill and Derick getting married at the church last June.
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On Sunday, Floyd gave a sermon in which he told his parishioners, “You dads, make sure you raise your sons around men who are manly.”
He also brought up Bruce Jenner’s recent announcement that he is transitioning from male to female.
“What’s remarkable about this is the world is applauding,” said Floyd. “Gender is not fluid.”
Floyd tempered this fire and brimstone with references to the Gospels that “all humans be treated with dignity and respect” whatever their sins. “Bruce Jenner is no different from all of us. We are all sinners. The key is cleansing our sins through Christ’s grace.”
The congregation was multi-racial, all ages, especially young couples, teens and kids.
On Saturday, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar recently released a statement saying they will be sharing their side of the story next week on Fox News.
On May 21, Josh, 27, admitted to “wrongdoing” in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE in the wake of molestation allegations.
Jim Bob and Michelle also said in a statement to PEOPLE that they were “shocked” by Josh’s “very bad mistakes” but that the “dark and difficult time” drew them closer to God.”