Saddleback Church youth staffer Ruven Meulenberg, 33, was convicted Wednesday of molesting two teenage boys on two occasions when they were 13 and 14 years old:
Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom told jurors in her opening statement that the defendant encouraged one of the boys to sit on his lap when they went to see a movie with Meulenberg and his brother. Meulenberg kissed the boy on the head and cheek before kissing him on the mouth, the prosecutor said.
“This occurred in isolation in the back row of a darkened movie theater,” Thom said. “This is not saying hello or goodbye. This is the defendant manipulating his position of trust and confusing these young boys to see how far he could go.”
(Full story: Orange County Register)
If the name Meulenberg sounds familiar, it may be because his parents have long been on Saddleback’s payroll as staff members. His father, Abraham Meulenberg, was a pastor heading up Interfaith Outreach. You may remember the news publicity around his involvement with Rick Warren’s efforts to form alliances with the Muslim community in Orange County several years ago (which Saddleback denied).
Later, I was doing some research on the elder Meulenberg, and discovered that he and his wife were actually teaching the false “Kingdom Circles” doctrine at a P.E.A.C.E. Plan seminar in France. The Kingdom Circles teaching states that Muslims do not need to convert to Christianity – that they can remain Muslim – and still be in the Kingdom of God. You can see the K.O.G lesson plan behind Meulenberg in this photo:
It’s always heartbreaking when we hear of Christian leaders being charged with sexual abuse, and we urge our readers to pray for the victims and their families.