The Record reports…
“In response to a video that has been widely viewed on the Internet, the pastor of the Bible Baptist Church on Monday issued an apology for a sermon in which he talked about punching a young man at a youth retreat to get him to “pay attention to God.”
The pastor, Eric Dammann, said in a posting on the church website that he regrets his actions during the incident, which took place 13 years ago, and that he “chose a very poor example from my past” to bring up in a sermon.
“By viewing the clip, it is certainly understandable how outraged people are,” he said in the posting. “I deeply regret my actions of 13 years ago. I do not condone abuse in any form.”
Dammann is seen on a video posted on YouTube as saying that he was at a youth retreat in Calgary years ago when a young man, whom he described as a “real smart aleck” had been “trying to push my buttons, and he was kind of not taking the Lord serious.” The pastor, throwing a punch into the air for effect, said he walked over to him “and I went Bam! I punched him in the chest as hard as I … I crumpled the kid. I just crumpled him.”
It was unclear when Dammann delivered the sermon, and he did not specify the age of the person whom he said he punched. It also was not clear what kind of point the pastor intended to make with the story. Dammann and church administrators did not respond to interview requests on Monday.
In the sermon, Dammann said that he leaned over to the young man, whose name is Ben, after punching him and asked, “When are you going to stop playing games with God?”
The pastor added: “I led that man to the Lord right there. There’s times that that might be needed.”
Earlier in the sermon, he described Ben as being “a bright kid, which didn’t help things, right? It made him more dangerous.” In his posting on Monday, Dammann said that he had been forgiven by Ben “many years ago and can only ask the same from my church, community and the world.”
He also wrote: “I acted out in one moment many years ago. It is not how I believe people especially a pastor should act. My actions were not reflective of Christ and the teachings of the Bible.”