Rachael Denhollander, the Relentless Hero Who Loved Sacrificially, and Stopped Dr. Larry Nassar from Sexually Abusing More Girls

Rachael DenholIander, Dr. Larry Nassar, Sexual Abuse, MSU, USAG


rachael denhollander, dr. larry nassar

“Who is going to find these little girls and tell them how much they are worth?”   Rachael Denhollander

***

I normally write articles about church leaders or Christian groups. This is neither, but you will see soon discover that the hero in this story, Rachael Denhollander, is a Christian. In this story, you will see sacrificial love – love that puts the needs, safety, concern of others, far ahead of herself. It’s one thing to sacrifice for your family or friends, but Rachael sacrificed for strangers. She was steadfast, strong, determined, articulate, thorough, and unrelenting. She became a leader, a counselor, an encourager, a listening ear, and perhaps even a surrogate mother-like figure to many who had gone through the same horrific ordeal. For those who couldn’t speak, she became their voices; but by her bravery and courage, she empowered others to use their voice, even up until the very last day of testimonies.

This is about a highly publicized sex abuse case, not in the church, but in athletics. The Dr. Larry Nassar sex abuse case has been an important case. I like to watch cases like these to observe the tactics abusers or enablers use to hide the deviant behavior. When there’s one person who is abusing, many times there are others who enable the abuse. This is a classic case of systemic abuse just as we have seen at Penn State, in the Catholic Church (see Spotlight Movie), the Boy’s Scouts, and others.

Because of the graphic content in this post, I am issuing a trigger alert. If you have been sexually abused, this will likely be difficult to read. Use caution.


trigger


***

I have been following tweets and related articles for the past few days on Dr. Larry Nassar’s sex abuse case, and have selected some that stood out for me for various reasons. I think you will be able to get an overall picture of what has happened in this case. I will now summarize the background:

While under the pretense of giving medical treatment, with moms sometimes present in the examining room, Dr. Nassar, a physician who specialized in treating people with sports injuries, sexually molested girls as young as 6 years old. He positioned himself between the young girl and the mom while he did his evil deeds.

Dr. Nassar, sexually molested hundreds of girls over two decades. There are important people who turned their eyes in the worst case of systematic sexual abuse in sports history.

Rachael Denhollander is a former gymnast. She is married to Jacob, has three children, and is also an attorney. Here are a few important points to know about Rachael Denhollander, the hero of this story.

  • Rachael was 15 years old when Dr. Nassar sexually abused her.

With one hand, he would carry out sports massage. With the other, covered by a towel, he would insert his fingers into Rachael’s vagina or anus. In one of their last sessions, he unhooked her bra and fondled her breast – the only time Rachael said she knew she was definitely being assaulted and not treated. (Source)

  • Rachael discovered there were others who had the same “medical procedure” performed on them.
  • After participating in gymnastics, Rachael then became a coach. She loved working with young girls.
  • Rachael eventually went to law school and became an attorney.
  • She investigated her so-called medical treatment and obtained her personal medical records.

***

  • She discovered that at least 7 girls/young women had reported alarms about Dr. Nassar’s “medical treatment” between 1997 to 2015 to key people at MSU, to coaching staff, to police, but nothing had been done.
  • She interviewed medical professionals to gain understanding about the pelvic floor treatment that friends of Dr. Nassar said was legitimate treatment.
  • When a news article came out in the Indianpolis Star about sex abuse cases by coaches connected with USA Gymnastics, Rachael contacted the reporter and shared the information she had uncovered.

***

  • Rachael went public with her name. As an attorney, she knew what would be involved, but also knew that this was the only way that she could bring attention to this case and hopefully stop Dr. Nassar from abusing more girls.
  • She sacrificed her privacy, sharing the most intimate details of the sex abuse.
  • This was the crucial step in this whole case. While some reported their cases, there was no face to attach with a name. There was no one to contact for interviews. Rachael became the key person with a name and a face.
  • She faced scorn and ridicule, but knew that someone would have to do it in order to stop the evil monster who was continuing to abuse girls.
  • Because she was an attorney, she knew what kind of documentation was needed to present her case. She was completely prepared.

***

  • As a result of Rachael coming forward, others who had used Jane Doe names to conceal their names, started to come forward, revealing their identities.
  • 90 survivors had planned to give their victim impact statements; however, after seeing the bravery of their peers, many more joined, to a total of 156! It was amazing to watch testimonies of girls/young women who were empowered as they shared their heart-wrenching stories.
  • At least one victim could not testify. Her mother did instead, because she had committed suicide.

***

  • One victim told her parents about the abuse, but they did not believe her for years. Her parents were friends with Dr. Larry Nassar and his wife, and both families spent time together on weekends and camping. When her parents did not believe her, they forced her to apologize to Dr. Nassar. Their relationship was strained for years. Eventually, her parents discovered the truth. The father was so distraught over the lost years and that he hadn’t believed his daughter, he eventually committed suicide.
  • One thing that we learned in the victim impact statements was that whether it was just one incident or over years, sexual abuse harms people in so many ways. Many withdrew, got depressed, acted out. Many have or had difficulty with relationships, difficult with intimacy, difficulty going to the doctor or being around men. Trust is a challenge. Most of these girls doubted themselves and blamed themselves.

***


Please note: click on links in tweets are live.

***

***

Nassar worked for Michigan State, and at least 14 staffers and school representatives reportedly knew about his abuse for more than 20 years. Yet, even when Nassar was finally the subject of Title IX and campus police investigations in 2014, school president Lou Anna Simon didn’t even look at the reports, and at least 12 more assaults occurred before the doctor was fired.

Michigan State did worse than ignore Nassar; it enabled him. The school even continued to charge women for sessions in which he was accused of molesting them.

“My mom is still getting billed for appointments where I was sexually assaulted,” Emma Ann Miller, 15, said in court this week, before the university finally stopped halted its billing. (Source)

***

I cannot imagine what emotional turmoil this man, Thomas Brennan, has gone through. He sent many young girls to Dr. Larry Nassar for treatment.

***

There are a lot of people who owe Rachael Denhollander apologies. I hope that she gets them. 

***

I love this. Jacob has been so supportive of Rachael. 

***

If you have not had the opportunity to hear Rachael Denhollander’s powerful victim impact statement, here it is. It is so strong, thoughtful, loving, convicting . . . there are so many words I could use! This is what a humble leader looks like. Judge Aqualina said she has never had such a brave person in her courtroom. I’m sure she is right.

Watch this, and I think you will agree, too.

***


As if all that Rachael Denhollander had done the last 18 months wasn’t enough, let these words sink in. This is towards the end of her victim impact statement. Remember that sacrificial love we talked about? She even demonstrated it toward her perpetrator. This is amazing love.

Rachael Denhollander to Dr. Larry Nassar in her victim impact statement:

“In our early hearings, you brought your Bible into the court room and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness. And so it is on that basis that I appeal to you. If you have read the Bible you carry, you know that the definition of sacrificial love portrayed is of God Himself loving so sacrificially that He gave up everything to pay a penalty for the sin He did not commit. By His grace, I too choose to love this way.

If you have read the Bible you carry, you know that forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what you have done. It comes from repentance, which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror. Without mitigation. Without excuse. Without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen in this courtroom today. The Bible you carry speaks of a final judgement where all of God’s wrath and His eternal terror is poured out on men like you.

Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the Gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you. I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt so that you may some day experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me, though I extend that to you as well.”

***

***



***

There is one paragraph from Rachael Denhollander’s victim impact statement that I had known about before that was difficult to comprehend. Church is supposed to be a safe place, a place of refuge. Her church and closest friends failed her. How tragic:

My advocacy for sexual assault victims, something I cherished, cost me my church and our closest friends three weeks before I filed my police report. I was left alone and isolated. And far worse, it was impacted because when I came out, my sexual assault was wielded like a weapon against me.


***

And finally, today, MSU President Lou Anna Simon finally announced her resignation. This is only part of it.

As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable.  As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger.  I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements.   Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first.  Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU.  I have tried to make it not about me.  I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now.  Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement. (Source)

Take note: “I have tried to make it not about me”

Total word count: 563 words. I = 28 times, my = 12 times, me = 3 times

65 comments on “Rachael Denhollander, the Relentless Hero Who Loved Sacrificially, and Stopped Dr. Larry Nassar from Sexually Abusing More Girls

  1. thanks Julie Anne… these victim impact statements are so powerful… do you know what church Rachel was a part of? I’m curious b/c I’m working on challenging a denom that has significant roots in MI…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why would parents not believe their own daughter? Unless I knew her to be untrustworthy I would take my daughter’s word over a friend’s.

    Maybe they just liked double dating with the charming perv and his wife. He was rich and might have picked up the tab a lot. Acknowledging the truth would have put an end to all the fine dining.

    I’m sorry the dad chose to kill himself, but he was right to feel guilty!

    Like

  3. Thanks, JA for posting this. I have not been able to follow it as closely as I would have liked. What has jumped out at me the most is the perpetrator’s continual parsing of words, denial,minimization and apology with qualifications. It is such a common tactic among abusers.
    Brenda

    Like

  4. What an intelligent, sensitive, wonderful young woman. What an advocate for other victims, as well. I watched her impact statement on the news and heard her speak on CBC just recently. Everything she said was so powerful and the absolute truth. She’s a true hero.

    Like

  5. “My advocacy for sexual assault victims, something I cherished, cost me my church and our closest friends three weeks before I filed my police report. I was left alone and isolated. And far worse, it was impacted because when I came out, my sexual assault was wielded like a weapon against me.”

    I know it’s her decision, but I’d love to see her out this church as well, so everyone knows where NOT to go. Hopefully the Denhollanders find an actual Christlike church to be part of. Rachael is one of the bravest people I’ve ever seen.

    Like

  6. I am not on twitter, but I have been following the whole story and am in awe of how brave these women have been! Rachael especially. I hope everyone who knows her has told her so.

    Like

  7. I normally write articles about church leaders or Christian groups. This is neither

    And yet, while reading through all the terrible responses to these girls and women as they tried to tell people what was happening, I can’t help but see so many parallels. The reaction of non-belief towards women and girls (and sometimes boys) in these situations is in society and in church, but they are the same.

    Like

  8. It sure is, Brenda. I was surprised to see that he showed any emotion and seemed to feel bad about what he had done at some points when listening to the impact statements, yet the 6-page letter to the judge showed otherwise. It’s like a battle is waging war within him, because his tears seemed genuine.

    Like

  9. NJ, the church situation was truly tragic. But sadly, we see this time and again. I hope they have been watching this case. I also hope they apologize to the Denhollanders and change their ways.

    Like

  10. Watch former gymnastics coach Thomas Brennan tell Larry Nassar to “go to hell” during sentencing hearing.

    This I had missed and I cannot tell you how heartening it is that at least one male coach will go on record like this.

    Like

  11. “ I can’t help but see so many parallels. The reaction of non-belief towards women and girls (and sometimes boys) in these situations is in society and in church, but they are the same.”

    Exactly, Lea. Systemic abuse has the same patterns whether it’s in the church or outside of Christianity. Learning about how systems work will only benefit us as we fight against abuse.

    Like

  12. Yes, Thomas Brennan’s testimony was powerful. I cannot imagine the pain he has and will endure knowing he sent over 100 girls to Nassar, who most likely abused them.

    Like

  13. Rachel,
    I know that her parents were medical professionals. In fact, if I remember correctly, they were both physicians. So I don’t think money played into this at all. They were just good friends.

    Like

  14. It comes from repentance, which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror. Without mitigation. Without excuse. Without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen in this courtroom today.

    This is a perfect statement. This is how repentance needs to be taught, truly. I am so sad that her church treated her poorly, instead of turning the pulpit over to her to preach the truth, as she so eloquently did in court.

    Like

  15. I heard that there were lots of letters written by others associated with Nassar in his support. I think that the Indianapolis Star should, now that Nassar is rotting in jail, start publishing the support letters and e-mails, both to them, and to Rachael.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “I know it’s her decision, but I’d love to see her out this church as well, so everyone knows where NOT to go.”

    It reminds me of the part of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where Lucy tells her siblings that she and Edmund were both in Narnia. They immediately disbelieved her. Then the professor says, “what about their character? Who is more likely to lie and who is more likely to tell the truth?” then ultimately, “why don’t you believe her?”

    I think he is really getting at the reaction of the church. Why does the church throw the person of honesty and integrity under the bus when the story seems unbelievable?”

    Like

  17. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2017/10/18/metoo-rachael-denhollander-usa-gymnastics-sexual-assault/776387001/

    “I knew what the cost would be”

    I think that is really telling. We have groomed children and especially young women to know what demonic opposition they will face if they come forward. Then, time after time, we see the results of this victim blaming and revictimization.

    It’s really heartbreaking that we put 15 year olds in this position. Either they keep silent about this horrific life-changing abuse, or they face the juggernaut of a society that is all about protecting and shielding the powerful. It’s not surprising that suicide came up so much. That is a huge burden to bear.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. There are no words to convey my depth of heartbreak for each one of these precious victims. I weep for the moment they realized that they had indeed been abused. At that moment each young lady opened the door to a lifetime of living out the repercussions of their abuse. It is never just sexual abuse, but is accompanied by so many other types of abuse, along with abandonment, lies, confusion, relationship struggles, difficulties in making long term decisions.

    It can possibly be hundreds of thousands of dollars in therapy/medications, including work time loss……… It will affect them for the rest of their lives; sometimes overtly, always covertly. It has changed the course of their lives forever!

    Like

  19. This is about a highly publicized sex abuse case, not in the church, but in athletics.

    These days, is there a difference?
    Athletics IS a Fundamentalist Religion these days; been that way for a long time. A Fundamentalist Relligion with Money and Clout. Just this time around it was Gymnastics instead of Football or Basketball.

    Assistant AG Povilaitis reminds the courtroom that accuser Rachael Denhollander was ridiculed, folks rallied behind Nassar and signed petitions for him.

    Sound familiar, anyone?

    Just since this wasn’t a church situation, no Long Prayers or Barrages of Bible Bullets for Justification. Though Nassar DID bring a Bible to his sentencing hearing…

    And Nassar’s “Poor Poor Persecuted MEEEEEEEEE!” statement letter to the judge didn’t help his case. Neither did his “BUT THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!!!” followup upon sentencing that was reported this morning. Again, sound familiar?

    Take note: “I have tried to make it not about me”
    Total word count: 563 words. I = 28 times, my = 12 times, me = 3 times

    As in “ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!”
    Again, Sound Familiar?
    All that’s missing are the “SELFIES! SELFIES! SELFIES! SELFIES!” all over Social Media.

    Like

  20. @JulieAnne:

    Yes, Thomas Brennan’s testimony was powerful. I cannot imagine the pain he has and will endure knowing he sent over 100 girls to Nassar, who most likely abused them.

    Because Brennan sent “those girls” to Nassar in Good Faith.

    Like

  21. From the IndyStar story down the link:

    But records show the organization compiled complaint dossiers on more than 50 coaches and filed them in a drawer in its executive office in Indianapolis. The contents of those files remain secret, hidden under seal in the case filed by Ganser’s daughter.

    i.e. The Coverup is On, The Fix Is In.

    Like

  22. @JulieAnne:

    NJ, the church situation was truly tragic. But sadly, we see this time and again. I hope they have been watching this case. I also hope they apologize to the Denhollanders and change their ways.

    Those Who Can Do No Wrong have no need of apology.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. @NJ:

    I know it’s her decision, but I’d love to see her out this church as well, so everyone knows where NOT to go.

    I second that.
    Churches like that SHOULD “Get Famous”.

    Like

  24. This is Penn State all over again, except Gymnastics instead of Football.
    With Nassar as Jerry Sandusky and Simon as JoePa.

    Like

  25. Unfortunately, MSU’s athletic schedules, funding and recruitment will not miss a beat. There will be no service of bereavement, compassion, humiliation, admission of wrong doing. High salaries will continue while these gymnastic victims will struggle to pay their way to healing so that a somewhat normal existence can occur. The almighty dollar will always win. The institutional will look the other way, promoting their sports programs as usual for therein lies their notoriety.

    Like

  26. “This is Penn State all over again, except Gymnastics instead of Football.”

    Except with Penn State, it was a sport that men like. Gymnastics is mixed, and not as popular. Notice this has been in the works for over a year and has had little press until the Olympians came forward and said they, too, were survivors. I find that disturbing. As if Rachael and other non-Olympians don’t matter??!!! UGH!!

    Like

  27. @JulieAnne:

    As if Rachael and other non-Olympians don’t matter??

    Me and other non-Varsity Football jocks didn’t matter in high school.
    Why should this be any different?

    Like

  28. Julie Anne, what this story has in common with your others is exposing Whited Sepulchers. Jesus got angrier at them than any in-your-face sinners. Vile, cruel behavior hidden beneath the cloak and mask of smiling respectability. These people are cancer on the Body of Christ. They’re a bigger threat to the American Church than the ACLU church could ever be.

    Rachael is right to pray for this horrible man’s salvation. I pray he still has the ability to repent. Pedophiles almost never do. Hardness of heart.

    Like

  29. Well said, Julie Anne,
    ” the trajectory for life has changed”
    I wish news broadcasters would become educated on this so that their reporting could be much more informative to educate their listeners. Most people simply do not have awareness of what the changed trajectory is all about.

    All women who are coming forward from many walks of life are experiencing this changed trajectory. Some simply by realizing the truth of having been abused. Some by having said the words out loud for others to hear for the first time.

    Like

  30. Except with Penn State, it was a sport that men like.

    And people who went to pen state are kind of culty about and about paterno (learned that from an ex). I think they’re worse than even SEC because we at least expect scandals.

    Like

  31. I wish news broadcasters would become educated on this so that their reporting could be much more informative to educate their listeners.

    This entire case is an excellent opportunity to explore the myths people believe about sexual abuse and try to break them, one by one. I don’t see that really happening though.

    Like

  32. one of the things that I have not heard talked about much, is that the statute of limitations had been repealed in Michigan which allowed all of this to come out… I think that should be a wake up call for every state to look at repealing the statute of limitations on specific crimes (especially against children/minors) ASAP!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Bless your heart Julie Anne… so I’m thinking about the Sovereign Grace scandal several years ago that got off the legal hook due to the statute of limitations (SOL) and I think of Jules Woodson’s recent sharing of what happened to her and from what I understand, the SOL has passed in Texas… why don’t we pray and encourage and help facilitate those in the SG lawsuit (and others affected by Sovereign Grace) to do their own “Victim impact statements” and publish and post those on Youtube (anonomously or with their name, whatever each person chooses)… I believe some of the moms have been working on getting the statue repealed in that state (or states?)… I would love to see that happen to help bring healing for those involved and empower others to speak up… that’s what happened over the last week! and it’s beautiful and it has been silenced for far too long by the institutions and “the powers that be”… how can we/the SSB community and other online communities like SSB, such as the cry for justice community, help make this happen… so taking the next step of healing beyond #metoo to share what happened in a more connected and in depth way… right now I feel the stories that have been shared are scattered out there in the internet cloud… but help bring cohesion to them and encourage others to share their “victim impact statement”… hope that makes sense!

    Like

  34. Regarding MSU, you’re not going to hear much for a while unless publicly available knowledge makes it impossible for someone to stay. Any big changes they make are evidence in the civil suits, so the deficiencies are going to come out in discovery.

    That noted, Lou Anna Simon (President) is gone, as is AD Mark Hollis. Rachael (and her husband–his PhD thesis is “Atonement and Abuse”) have put on a clinic in “how to make an accusation stick” that exposes a LOT of weaknesses in MSU’s Title IX program. I am guessing some of them will be gone by the time the Denhollanders’ 4th baby is born. (hearty congrats to them) More will be gone after a year or two as this all plays out. I also would not be surprised if more schools got wrapped up in this, sad to say.

    I also would dare suggest that if you go to SBTS’s website and download Jacob’s dissertation, you’re going to get some strong hints about the church that gave them the right boot of fellowship. You may also hear something about them if you follow Southern Baptist news.

    Like

  35. this is fascinating Bike Bubba… thanks for sharing… keep us posted… I will do some digging/reading… so what are your theories on why they got the right boot of fellowship? the church response is an aspect that really fascinates me…

    Like

  36. Rachael Denhollander, in her own modern way, is a type of Esther… following in Queen Esther’s courageous footsteps. Rachael took a huge, yet prayerfully calculated risk in order to expose evil and help save others. She deserves a lot of respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Bev, I think I’m going to avoid speculating on why the Denhollanders got the right boot of fellowship. You’ll get hints in Jacob’s dissertation, perhaps, but I think they’re holding their fire in that regard for reasons known to them–and which I tend to trust.

    That noted, the State of Michigan is investigating my alma mater now, and as someone who’s actually gotten care in an athletic training room at MSU, it’s my prayer that the various agencies involved (NCAA, probably the FBI soon) will take a good top to bottom look at everyone and every policy involved to get a few people out of their jobs, a few people perhaps in jail, and for the athletic training rooms in Jenison Fieldhouse and elsewhere to be, and feel, safe for everyone involved.

    Like

  38. Rachael took a huge, yet prayerfully calculated risk in order to expose evil and help save others.

    She thought it through, prepared herself, and was aware that the damage could easily be brought down on her. Esther is an excellent comparison.

    Like

  39. On a public FB page, Rachael mentioned CJ Mahaney. She and Jacob were disappointed that her church was inviting CJ Mahaney to speak, knowing justice had not been served to the sex abuse survivors in the Sovereign Grace Ministries cases.

    Like

  40. Rachel, here are Rachael Denhollander’s exact words:

    “We did (were invited) to leave over many issues which stemmed from our significant disagreement and pleading over the support of CJ [Mahaney] and his church and counseling methodologies. And my status as a sexual assault victim was indeed wielded like a weapon by some of the elders. I did include this, without naming the church, in my statement because it was a significant part of the damage that I went through, but our intent is not to malign or “go after” the church in any way, which is why the church has never been named by us. . . .

    I do ask that anyone else who has connected the dots not go on a war path. . . . There are many things that need to change, but we wish to approach that change with love and grace, and very carefully, if such an opportunity ever arises.

    I know not everyone will agree with that position, but we do have our private reasons for requesting it, not the least of which is our belief about how it out to be pursued at this point. If you do anything, please pray. “

    Like

  41. thanks Julie Anne… very helpful as I found the church’s response to the Denhollanders unsettling for various reasons (for me at least, it’s a relief to have some level of understanding so thank you!)… interesting full circle here with the connection to the Sovereign Grace lawsuit, which is one of the reasons for people to contact their political reps to repeal the statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse of children… and the MI repeal of SOL re sexual abuse of children is what opened the door for the hearing that happened last week… I hope and pray inappropriate SOL’s continue to be repealed… that is my prayer… along with NDA’s being investigated!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. On Sunday, my pastor talked about Rachael Denhollander as an example of someone who was taking down people who are misusing their positions of power. Speaking truth to the powers that be whether they are in the secular world or in the sacred world is very difficult. My church has many people who have spoken to leaders in the church world and have been sorely disappointed in the lack of response, or worse.

    I was so encouraged to hear my pastor talk about Rachael and her story as an encouragement to our congregation to keep fighting against the evil, chaos, and darkness.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. That’s great, Mari. I wondered how many would speak about the case or about Rachael. I notice a lot of Christians are focusing on her sharing the Gospel. While that is wonderful, if they missed the part about people using their positions of authority to abuse, they missed her point.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. @JulieAnne:

    That’s great, Mari. I wondered how many would speak about the case or about Rachael. I notice a lot of Christians are focusing on her sharing the Gospel. While that is wonderful, if they missed the part about people using their positions of authority to abuse, they missed her point.

    Sharing The Gospel(TM) is SPIRITUAL.
    Exposing people using their positions of authority to abuse is SECULAR, and thus beneath the dignity of a Christian.

    I recently acquired a copy of JMJ/Christian Monist’s book Butterflies in the Belfry, Serpents in the Cellar. He goes extensively into the history and effects of this ‘Spiritual Good! Physical Baaaaaaad!” dichotomy, much as he did on his blog:

    Like

  45. Julie Anne

    That’s great, Mari. I wondered how many would speak about the case or about Rachael. I notice a lot of Christians are focusing on her sharing the Gospel. While that is wonderful, if they missed the part about people using their positions of authority to abuse, they missed her point.

    I was going to say the exact same thing. I see this tweets from Christians gloating and claiming Rachael as one of their own now that she has become a media hero, but having nothing to say about her very well articulated criticisms of the church being an unsafe place to seek help for victims of sexual abuse.

    Like

  46. I am surprised to read that Rachel’s husband Jacob is a PhD student at SBTS. I cannot imagine that seminary being supportive of the Denhollanders’ strong stance against abuse in the church.

    Like

  47. David – I hope that Jacob’s presence is a constant reminder to them about what abuse really looks like and how the church (and they SBTS) have failed at helping those in need – not only by supporting and defending CJ Mahaney, but also by the way they only support Biblical counseling. If you listened to any of the testimonies, a common thread was how these girls withdrew, isolated themselves, got depressed, etc. One mother testified about her daughter who committed suicide. The Biblical counseling model they teach does not work for abuse cases. In fact, it can cause further harm. On serious abuse cases, survivors need help from professional and trained mental health professionals.

    Like

  48. JA and David, the context for the sermon was about facing people who are in positions of authority and misusing their positions.

    Like

  49. @Mari, understaood.

    @Julie Anne, with the latest from Rachael aimed at Sovereign Grace and Mahaney, Jocob’s presence at SBTS has to be a thorn in their side. It will be interesting to see how his pastoral career, if that is what he ultimately chooses to pursue, will pan out. What the Denhollanders have done is morally and biblically right, but it isn’t good for career advancement.

    Like

  50. I think the Denhollanders are going to be fine, career-wise. The big danger I can see for them is succumbing to the cult of celebrity, and obviously I don’t know them well enough to put odds on that. Right now, I reckon that some publishers are talking to them about a book that will probably sell millions. Just pray that they keep their heads on straight in all this.

    Regarding SGM, her statement is another tutorial on how to make things stick. There are numerous things said about SGM that will not, but she’s stuck with pretty much what has been introduced in courts. My hope and prayer here is that not only should SGM make some long overdue apologies, but also that fundagelicals would get over their love of bigness for it’s own sake. And, yes, D1 sports programs, obviously.

    Like

  51. Bike Bubba… and if a book on this did make millions I pray and could see the Denhollanders using that $ for a Church victim support foundation, including paying to hire GRACE for independent investigations on various ministries like SGC, Masters, etal… instead of using the $ for themselves… Rachael, if so led, could speak around the nation at conferences that help train churches how to respond to abuse and abuse of power… God only knows how much training we need to help bring increased awareness of this into the general understanding of the Ekklessia… abuse of power is rarely acknowledged, and it has been the MO of pastors/leaders in the Institutional Church for decades… and most people are oblivious to it, it’s subtle, it’s covert and as we see with SGC, one of the “damage control” responses is: deny, deny, deny…

    Like

  52. Mari… is there a link to an online copy of the sermon about abuse of power… would really appreciate listening to that message!

    Like

  53. David C… This is SO IRONIC and SO WRONG and so GRIEVOUS! BOQ What the Denhollanders have done is morally and biblically right, but it isn’t good for career advancement EOQ especially since this context that we are talking about is the Church… (not saying it’s a false stmt, but that how the Church leaders respond is wrong – that the response is to shut down those who aren’t loyal to protect the leaders and their abuse of power (Ez 34 type abuse and bullying) – I think of Ezekiel 8 and all the elders of Israel in collusion together worshipping idols in a very secret, very hidden room, all protecting each other in their sin).

    I was reading Psalm 5&6 this morning… You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors… Ps 5:4-6;

    God protects those who grieve over the broken state of His Church from His judgemnt… Ez 9:4-6

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Bev, the Denhollanders could do that, traveling all over and such, but it strikes me that the culture of celebrity is precisely one of the causes of the disaster she uncovered, and therefore she just might say “you saw what I did? Great. You go and do the same.” I know at least one Sunday School Superintendent who’s taking notes. (me)

    Plus, as someone who’s done a share of traveling, I can vouch for the fact that you get tired of being away from home, and it’s a lot more fun to love on one’s spouse and kids.

    Like

  55. @Bev, well stated.

    @Bike Bubba,

    Imagine being in a business school. Let’s say GM recruits heavily from the business school and enjoys well established connections.

    You or your spouse makes national headlines with an exposé about GM’s corruption. That is what the Denhollanders are doing. It may be the right thing to do, but the exposé may have cost your future job prospects, not just with GM, but other employers. Companies like to recruit lackeys, not rebels. Networking and brown nosing gets you jobs, not rocking the boat. These same secular dynamics exist and thrive in Christian circles. Money talks.

    The Denhollanders are in uncharted territory. The book deal may or may not materialize. They seem to have too much integrity to be motivated by money.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. I have a similar issue, David. I have a visible online presence and I’m hoping that will not interfere with future job prospects. You can be sure that it has crossed my mind quite a bit.

    Like

  57. David, JA, the trick is whether the SBC and related churches are indeed monolithic like stereotypical GM (for which my wife worked, Olds division). Given that you’ve got Calvinism, revivalism, and light charismatic theology all under one roof, and SBTS professors having squabbles with Mohler et al, I don’t think that’s going to be a deal killer in the SBC, and outside of the SBC, there are dozens of denominations with an axe to grind with both SGM and the SBC that will snap them up in a moment.

    They’re gonna be A-OK if they keep their heads on straight, and so will you, JA.

    Like

  58. Julie Anne – there is an interesting piece over a Paul’s Passing Thoughts (6th Feb) as to why victims are blamed, both in business and the church:

    Like Church Like Business: Victims Are Disruptive

    You might find it a useful read, even if it only confirms what you already know! I found it illuminating if only because I just don’t understand how churches can be so lacking in basic wisdom when it comes to this sad theme. It’s highly relevant to this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Bike Bubba… I have no idea what is in the future for the Denhollanders… I trust that they are sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and be obedient and willing to do what’s right, even when the cost is great… and speaking opportunities is a possibility… whether they will feel feel called to that, I have no idea…

    yes, bless your heart for taking notes! this is definitely a time now to encourage people to use their voices wherever they are at… for those that have been harmed by abuse of power in the Church (or whatever institution), they have often gained wisdom, perseverance and compassion through their journey (recognizing that came at a high emotional cost)… and many are ready and willing to minister to others who have suffered, and hope their voice brings healing and helps to limit the harm to others in the future… so hopefully many people will have a place to share their journeys in a healthy, healing, safe and validating environment… however, I’m not so sure the leaders in power will be willing to give up their pulpit and/or “meaningful” ministry and allow a place for these voices to be heard (I really think leaders in the Church were hoping the whole #metoo/#churchtoo would quiet down and go away after a while if they didn’t acknowledge it, stayed silent and use the don’t talk about it/code of silence rule – that often works for them)… and so those who have something to share, will not be invited to share… I hope I’m wrong! but if I’m not wrong, and they are not invited to share, I hope they go to the leaders and request an opportunity to share their journey and what is on their heart…. may the silence regarding abuse continue to be broken!

    Like

Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s