A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ

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GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has released a statement regarding the ongoing problem of sexual abuse in the church and is collecting signatures.  This is a powerful statement.  Below is an excerpt:

We must face the truths of our own teachings: To be a shepherd in the body of Christ and blind to the knowledge that your sheep are being abused by wolves in your midst is to be an inattentive shepherd. To judge merely by outward appearances is a failure of righteousness. To fail to obey the laws of the land as Scripture commands by declining to report and expose abuse is to be a disobedient shepherd. To be told that wolves are devouring our lambs and fail to protect those lambs is to be a shepherd who sides with the wolves who hinder those same little ones from coming to Jesus. To fail to grasp the massive web of deception entangling an abuser and set him or her loose among the sheep is to be naïve about the very nature and power of sin. To be told a child is being or has been abused and to make excuses for failing to act is a diabolical misrepresentation of God. To know a woman is being raped or battered in hidden places and silence her or send her back is to align with those who live as enemies of our God. Protecting an institution or organization rather than a living, breathing lamb is to love ministry more than God and to value a human name or institution more than the peerless name of Jesus. Dear church of Jesus Christ, we must set aside every agenda but one: to gently lead every man, woman and child into the arms of our Good Shepherd, who gave his very life to rescue us from the clutches of our enemy and from sin and death — who rose from the dead and called us to the safety of his side.

Please read the whole statement and if you agree, sign and share this link:

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ
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16 comments on “A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ

  1. JA, thank you for posting this. But these are not the only types of abuse we need to address in the church. The church at large must address abuse by “leaders” in how they treat and respond to those who attend or are members of a church. Those who fail to take a stand against abusive pastors or elders are guilty of that same offense as abettors of that abuse.

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  2. Arce – you are correct. GRACE’s focus is on sexual abuse, so that is what this statement is about.

    I am involved with other ministries, bloggers, authors, church leaders who are trying to coordinate to tackle the problem you are talking about.

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  3. I agree with Arce. I would also like to mention that I clicked on the “read more” on the website for GRACE and clicked on the “partnerships” to see who was in support. Most of the names listed are either New Calvinist/New Age or sympathizers so although the GRACE statement may appear innocuous, the teachings of the backers are not, much like the formation of the Catholic and Christians Together statement, and in fact have the same supporters as the GRACE statement.

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  4. Responding to glaurie2God, I cannot find anything about partnerships on the G.R.A.C.E. website, but even if it’s there, I frankly do not care. If the New Calvinists you describe are truly Calvinists of the stripe that otherwise come across as deaf to the cries of every sort of victim of of church abuse, then glory to God. Where, really, is ALL of evangelicalism? They are silent. Maybe it is an instance where the stones do not yet cry out because our God has found Himself some New Agers to step in where evangelicalism is utterly failing. Will we let them (the New Agers) put us to shame? I fear so.

    No matter. Just get over and sign the petition! Please.

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  5. Glaurie2God,

    We are going to be debating doctrinal issues until the return of Christ. I could say similar things about Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches or Calvary Chapel Churches. The common denominator is abuse in church. We can tackle that issue proactively across the denominations (or nondenominational). Let’s do that for our kids’ sake.

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  6. There are good points with both glaurie2God and Gary W.

    But I just thought of something that would help. If God is for us, who can be against us.

    Then look at the so called “unbelievers” from the Old Test that HELPED the Jews in many ways, i.e. the woman who helped the Jewish “spies”, the Persian King that helped his wife, Ester in regards to HER people (The Jews). There are many examples. So, I conclude with Gary W. Justice cries out, and if the New Agers/Calvinists want to fight for us, or with us, who can be against us if God is with us?

    Also, consider this in a bigger meaning of:

    1 Timothy 3:7
    Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    Note: Without = “outside the church”. Believers and unbelievers alike are to get along together.

    That doesn’t mean that we should have alliances in theology, but a healthy relationship with those who do not share our own beliefs is another way of saying to “love thy neighbor as yourself”.

    Sometimes, I find that non-Christians are more Christian than Christians.

    Ed

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  7. “Sometimes, I find that non-Christians are more Christian than Christians.”

    I’ve experienced this myself a few times. It’s unfortunate, but true. I also know some non-Christians who find professing Christians to be some of the most untrustworthy people to do business with.

    I’m just thankful that these people are willing to stand with GRACE to speak up on behalf of the most vulnerable in our churches. I’m honored to include my name in their cause.

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  8. For informational purposes only how I found GRACE Partnerships: Click on “A public statement concerning….etc” This will bring you to the GRACE web, click on “about us”. A drop down menu will give list…click “partnerships” from there you’ll see 3 partnerships listed. Click on any one of those 3 to learn who they are. Thank you.

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  9. The 3 partners listed are Resurgence (a ministry of Mars Hill church), American Association of Christian Counselors and Diane Langberg & Associates. Mars Hill ‘s pastor (Mark Driscoll) is Neo-Calvinist. But the American Association of Christian Counselors (of which Diane Langberg is a member) is neither a New Calvinist nor a New Age organization; it is a group of Christian counsellors representing various standard evangelical perspectives.

    I agree with Gary and Ed. This issue isn’t about correctness of doctrine or whether we agree with people on other issues or even think they are good guys. It’s about making changes to protect children. I think we can save our theological debates and criticisms for another time.

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  10. Thanks for this link and info ~ just signed it 🙂
    Oh and Happy Happy Birthday (a little late!) ~ hope it was great!

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  11. #473, under my real name.

    The petition’s pushing 500, and this is the first day it’s gotten publicity on the blogs.

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  12. Here are a couple comments I see under the signatures. I didn’t copy them all. Most people did not add a comment.

    Sexual abuse is horrific. I am on the Board of a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation organization and more than 90% of all drug addicted women are the victims of sexual abuse. This affects not only them, but their own family as well.

    The church must be transparent and open at all levels. We should be in forefront of protecting children.

    Those who ignore abuse will one day stand before God and have to explain why!

    I am a baptist pastor, and I do not choose silence. I could not be more in agreement with this public statement. Nor do I see “prayer” as the only answer to assisting victims with the help they need. I have a duty to report, have done so, and will continue to do so.

    Adding my voice to those whose cries fell on deaf ears. You will not be silenced anymore. “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7)

    Adding my voice to those whose cries fell on deaf ears. You will not be silenced anymore. “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7)

    Years after I left, the church I grew up in discovered that teenage boys who worked in the church nursery had abused more than 60 children. Even though it was dealt with openly, the church is still struggling to survive and the victims are still suffering from the effects.

    I could not be more in agreement with this public statement. The leaders that have done and/or allowed these things to happen, and then tried to hide them, display an arrogant, selfish, and self-aggrandizing attitude and behavior, wanting to protect their fame, fortune, and “good” name. Pity and pray for the victims and their family members who have been savaged in this way. What a travesty! Shame on wolves in sheep’s clothing. — “If anyone causes one of these little one to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the person through whom these things are done!”

    An attorney who, having observed the uncontested devouring of His lambs, has renounced evangelicalism and left what calls itself church. Am turning to Jesus, and only Jesus.

    Child abuse (physical and sexual) affects many lives. As a child abuse survivor I can testify to that fact. Jesus loves the little children. The so-called Christian* Church should lead on the issue of protecting children…not lag.

    I married a pedophile disguised as a Pastor, Steve, and was clueless to this fact. I loved him, supported him, believed him, worked with him, lived with him, had the most precious blessing of a daughter with him but I had no idea of my husband’s long history of addiction to pornography. To many predators are purposefully finding places to serve in the church, mission field and para church organizations. The church must open her eyes and believe the children. ~~~It was not her fault. She was never to blame. Would she spend her lifetime trying to forget the pain?
    send

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  13. I know this isn’t a popular thing to say but the statement above is so vague that I don’t see how it encourages people to take concrete actions that will prevent future abuse.

    I’d rather see a statement saying something ultra specific like this:

    “the undersigned believe that the concept of separation of Church and State should not be used as a means of arguing that Clergy have the right to cover-up sexual abuse as Sovereign Grace Ministries is arguing. In particular, we believe that Christian Pastors should not be morally or legally excused from adhering to civil laws pertaining to reporting sexual abuse for any reason.”

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  14. There is NO EXCUSE for ABUSE, nor any for falling to report, which is, in effect aiding and abetting the abusers. Churches must have comprehensive, aggressive plans and programs to prevent child abuse.

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