As a state of emergency was declared and the shutdown of NYC began, Jim and Carol Cymbala took another trip to their vacation home in Florida “to just rest.” Apparently, Jim Cymbala was told (by whom is not clear) “don’t get on an airplane, don’t go anywhere” during the pandemic, so they left their congregation in New York and stayed in Florida. This didn’t stop Jim and Carol from traveling all around the East Coast and having multiple visitors to their Florida home during the pandemic. They did return back to New York City shortly before their granddaughter was to be married at the church, July 2021.
He screams and yells, accuses and attacks his own workers. He has become a megalomaniac, and cannot see his own flaws; he believes he is above reproach and will bite the head off of anyone who dares question his authority. I have been on the receiving end of his tirades, and he is NOT the humble preacher you see “on stage” every Sunday.
No one at the church has ever been compensated for either the books and videos they’ve been included in or the millions of albums sold by the choir. Only the Cymbalas benefits from the royalties, because we were told that our service and labor was for the Glory of God.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.
The conversations that were had from employee to employee showed me that pretty much everyone knew that there is something deeply off at BT.
You know you’ve got to be so careful how if you read the news, okay? This whole case here with this guy [Jeffrey Epstein] that committed, supposedly committed suicide in a cell. You know the case I’m talking about? Everyone know? How deeply can you read that and want to know about whatever crimes he perpetrated? How could you read that and not start thinking about something really nasty and it might catch – might trigger – it might stay in there and that thought life? [listen now]
I asked him why couldn’t he be financially transparent with the congregation. He became upset and told me that maybe I should find another Church that has those practices in place… I was fired four months later.
Given Defendant’s constructive and/or actual knowledge of PERPETRATOR’s dangerous sexual propensities, as described above, Defendant breached its duty to protect Plaintiff by allowing PERPETRATOR to serve as pastor and granting him unfettered access to children engaged in church-related activities, despite such knowledge of his dangerous sexual propensities, and by failing to institute any supervision of PERPETRATOR’s contacts with children, and failing to address and/or correct PERPETRATOR’s known inappropriate contacts with parishioners, including children. (p. 7, paragraph 38 of complaint)
They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse.
I am concerned about things I have seen at BT. Especially in light of what has come out about Ravi Zacharias and that leaders in the organization knew of his hidden life going back to 2008 and possibly before.
Over the years I’ve seen churches and parachurch ministries, flounder and almost destroy themselves in futile attempts to embalm the past and escape the future.
We’ve done many important parts of the world together. I think the last time we were together was in Moscow a couple of years ago, and prior to that, in Hong Kong in China, so it’s just marvelous to have this collegiality. When you’re on the road, life can get lonely, it can get, what, a desolate feeling when you spend half your time alone in your room, but to have the friendship and fellowship… [listen now]
Some people have had abuse of different kinds. And that memory is something they need to forget. [listen now]
So, as the light shines upon TBT, there are certainly legitimate questions that need to be answered, especially in the area of financial accountability.
– When a harrowing story is told in a book with Jim Cymbala’s name on it, it’s called an inspiring story of courage and resilience.
– When the story is told online, it’s called gossip and complaining.
– When the story is about Jim Cymbala, it can only be attributed to the devil and his working.
I remember years ago we were all told that we would have so much money when they sold the building across the street. Now they are millions of dollars in debt! Who is making these decisions??
In April 2020, The Brooklyn Tabernacle received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in the amount of $1,466,105.
Pastor Cymbala has told me on a few occasions to go get a dress or to fix up my hair a certain way. It felt strange when he said those kinds of things and now it feels less pastor/father and even more weird.
Leadership did complete and investigation, and there were outside police authorities that also investigated this man’s claims [of being sexually abused] and they found zero conclusive evidence. This specific claim is a rabbit trail… [#2950]
I do have an answer for who the policing authorities were but I’m choosing not to give it. [#3044]
The pages and people’s comments were so much of what I had gone through at BT. So many stories over so many years.
I can’t think of a more contentious and divisive scripture than Paul’s letter in 1 Corinthians 5. It would be all the more divisive if Paul referred here to the pastor of a church.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
BT is a family business. It was started by a family member Claire (Carol’s father) passed down to Carol and Jim. In 1997 Pastor Hammond was demoted so that Al Toledo (son in law) could take his rightful place. If we follow the pattern, either Al will return to BT or Pastor Brian Pettrey (son in law) will inherit the business.
We assume that that giftedness [of preaching] carries over into every area of their lives. But what we don’t understand is that the giftedness could be covering up hideous things. So you could have somebody with incredible preaching skills, teaching skills, brilliant mind. All of those things. But it’s a front. Because the character behind it is abusive or nasty or bullying or raping or whatever. But as long as it stays in front and it’s something people want and like, they don’t want it to stop being true. And if you’ve got a gifted speaker and they’re accused of abuse, they’ll use their gift of speaking to deny it. And they’re much more persuasive than a victim, who’s terrified, hurt, stumbling over their words.
Trustworthy organizations are transparent, not secretive. Members and donors have every right to see detailed financial reports.
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.
But how many people living in New York serving the Lord, just when it got really hard and the [COVID-19] spike came said I’m out of here. Adios, muchachos. I’m gone. Maybe they were led by God. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe they just couldn’t take it. [listen now]
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
This is a prayer with first name
Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
Jim is truly one of my dearest friends now, and we have been together a few times. Anytime I have called for any reason, he’s there right on the spot to help. Love you, Jim, so grateful to you for your friendship and all that you do. [listen now]
My name is Paul Brewer, a sex abuse survivor at the hands of Jim Cymbala and the founding members of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Sharing my story is one way to help others that have been abused, and my story is one of hope and determination. I am not a sex abuse survivor that thought the abuse was normal that was occurring.
As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
This is prayer one without a name.
But before I could officially join the choir, the pastor’s wife told me I needed to meet with a ‘church counselor.’ It ended up being her son. He asked how I could stand before the throne of God, having run away from a pastor husband. Then he asked for my husband’s phone number. I think I made it downstairs before I started sobbing.
Our family no longer attend BT because there are things we can no longer bear to see or experience. There is only so much pain our souls can bear.