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A while back I noticed hits on my blog from a site called SharperIron. Fred Butler (Fred and I have some history here – he has issues with Spiritual Abuse Survivor blogs) was posting on the SharperIron site about my case, sharing misinformation about my lawsuit, so I joined the forum and challenged him. Since then, I have read articles there from time to time to see what they consider pressing topics. I really haven’t investigated to find out who is connected with this site, but when I click on the profiles of people who have commented on threads I am interested in, the respondents seem to be primarily pastors, religious teachers, people in ministerial positions in their churches, etc. Let’s just say I haven’t seen any mom/bloggers. I don’t think they quite know what to do with me there Oh well.
There have been a few threads posted there on Sovereign Grace Ministries fiasco and the silence has been deafening. You know me, I can’t remain silent about silence. Here is a quote from one of my comments:
I’ve been watching the responses on other SGM articles posted here on SharperIron and the silence is pretty deafening. Why is that? What does it take before one says to another brother: ”hey, buddy, I think in the light of these strong allegations presented by multiple witnesses, you ought to step aside until this thing gets resolved.” Is anyone doing that? Even if they are not a part of SGM church? Or does it become “not my business” because I’m not a part of SGM? Help me understand the logic of this silence, please.
Here was one response:
Why should I make any comments on a situation which doesn’t come even tangentially close to my life and ministry.
Ok. I needed to step away from the keyboard for health reasons. So I’m coming here to you, my faithful blog readers. How would you respond to this? I think this comment represents what many church leaders feel. There were other comments that went along these lines, too. I like to understand where they are coming from, but sometimes, I tell you, my head just spins.
So, since the SharperIron site is a site with church leaders, I thought it might be important to discuss this topic. If we are going to be sounding the bullhorn and bark like little dogs in an attempt to get church leaders to stop being silent on this issue, how can we effectively respond to comments like this?
Some leaders say that they get it. I have another example to share that I don’t think has been shared before (it is mentioned in the archives, however). It involves Phil Johnson of Grace Community Church. I’ve heard Phil referred to as John MacArthur’s right-hand man. He is definitely a conservative church leader with a very large following (he used to blog at Pyromaniacs).
If you recall, my former pastor brought Grace Community Church into my lawsuit by claiming that one of their pastors encouraged him to sue me. Long story short, they both eventually agreed that did not happen, but Phil Johnson had to do some public damage control thanks to my former pastor. I spent an hour on the phone with Phil discussing these issues. The following day after our phone call, Phil posted a link to an article about my lawsuit by Carl Trueman on his (Phil’s) Facebook page. Posting the link obviously invited discussion from his followers and there were quite a few responses. Eventually, Phil gave a follow-up response. Here it is:
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I love Paula Coyle’s response. However, this part by Phil Johnson is what needs to be addressed:
Abusive and heavy-handed, high-control church leadership is a serious problem among some very conservative churches, and those of us who are conservative should speak out against it. If there were fewer control freaks in church leadership, I think there would also be fewer out-of-control complaint blogs.
Phil says the right thing, but is he doing it? Is anyone doing it? This is the same problem we are finding across the board with conservative Christian leaders. They seem to talk out of both sides of their mouths. So, I guess my question is – how can we encourage leaders to start speaking up about abuse AND do something? What can we do to help facilitate that process? I’m really just waiting for some Christian leaders to man up. That’s all. Is that too much to ask? I’m tired of reading abuse stories. I really am.
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