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14 New Charges Brought Against SBC Pastor in Child Sex Abuse Material Case

Jonathan Elwing new charges
Screengrab via Manatee County Sheriff's Office

A former Florida pastor has received 14 additional charges in connection with a child sex abuse material case. Jonathan Elwing, now-formerly of Palm View First Baptist Church in Palmetto, Florida, was arrested after an investigation revealed that he allegedly used cryptocurrency to purchase child sex abuse material.

Elwing, 43, resigned as pastor of Palm View First Baptist Church before being taken into custody on Friday, June 21. 

The new charges include six counts of possession of child pornography, six counts of use of a child in a sexual performance, and two counts of sexual battery on a person less than 12 years old—which is a capital offense. 

Elwing had previously been charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, bringing the total number of charges against him to 18. 

RELATED: SBC Pastor Arrested on Child Sex Abuse Material Charges

Palm View First Baptist Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and Elwing appears to have been invested in Southern Baptist denominational politics. He was a member of the Florida chapter of the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN), a group formed in 2020 to address what it believed to be “liberal drift” in the denomination. 

Following the news of his arrest, Elwing’s membership was revoked. 

Palm View First Baptist Church had also been featured on Founders Ministries’ list of “gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting” churches. Led by Florida SBC Pastor Tom Ascol, Founders is “committed to encouraging the recovery of the gospel and the biblical reformation of local churches.”

The church has since been removed from the list. 

“Pornography is wicked and a scourge on our nation. It should be outlawed at every level of our society. Child pornography is a compounded wickedness because it necessarily involves the abuse of the most vulnerable among us,” Ascol told ChurchLeaders. “Those who engage in it should be punished to the full extent of the law.”

RELATED: Youth Pastor Charged With Child Sex Abuse; Church Says SBC Database Would Have Prevented Him From Getting Hired

Per Founders Ministries’ website, churches that appear on its recommended list of “healthy, biblically-grounded” churches “are listed voluntarily, and Founders Ministries is not able to evaluate and endorse each church individually.”