Grace Christian Schools head resigns because of 'persistent sin'

The longtime superintendent of Grace Christian Schools has stepped down, citing a "persistent sin issue," according to a letter the school sent home to parents last week.

Ray Johnson met with school staff and officials with the First Baptist Church of Medford and resigned, the letter said.

"With deep regret and emotion, Mr. Johnson shared that for many years he has struggled with a persistent sin issue," the letter said. "This sin is clearly in direct contradiction to biblical principles ... and the Christian lifestyle agreement that all school employees sign."

The letter was drafted by the church council and the school board. It said that Johnson's "transgression" has been confessed to the council and board, but it did not say what it was or how it came to light.

Messages left for Johnson on his cellphone and Facebook page Friday and today were not returned.

Greg Spires, pastor of FBC, said late Monday that he could not comment on the reasons for Johnson's resignation, citing a "personnel issue."

"We shouldn't comment out of respect for Ray and the schools," Spires said, adding the letter was "self-explanatory."

Johnson's resignation did not involve criminal activity, the letter said.

It includes a statement by Johnson that reads in part, "It is with sadness ... that I submit my resignation. I have every confidence in the school staff and leadership to carry on with the goals we have created together to see students learn and grow, both academically and spiritually."

The school praised Johnson's work over the years and reported that he cooperated with the process that led to his resignation.

"(Johnson's) leadership and vision have blessed countless families, however, we believe that biblical values must prevail," the letter said.

The school moved quickly to name Devon Rickabaugh as the interim superintendent.

According to Johnson's Facebook page, he graduated from Southern Oregon University in 1980 and began as a teacher at Grace Christian Schools.

He was an associate pastor at the First Baptist Church and was named the superintendent of Cascade Christian High School in August 2002.

— Chris Conrad

Read more in Tuesday's Mail Tribune.

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