Within the last three weeks Pastor Johnny Hunt has gone from “no contact whatsoever” to admitting that he had a “consensual encounter” with a younger pastor’s wife.
The key takeaway is this: anytime an abuser is given a platform, that space will never feel safe for survivors.
. . we can't change the culture of an abusive church, because while an abusive leader is in power, there is a system of abuse involved. We cannot change an abusive system. But what we survivors can do is provide a safe place where personal stories are told, heard, believed.
My blog broke the story on two high-profile cases of clergy sexual misconduct. These are very difficult stories to report on, especially as I get to know the survivors and the ongoing emotional and spiritual trauma they endured with these highly influential church leaders. One common misconception I see repeatedly debated in comments on news… Continue reading Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Why Victims Should Not be Blamed
Nate is the first person to interview me specifically about the Ravi Zacharias sex abuse scandal and ask me why I thought it took so long for the collective church to "get it."
"Am I the only one bothered by the use of “failure” language in the rush of mea culpas that we now see bursting from the bowels of evangelical Christianity as Ravi Zacharias’s empire goes the way of the Titanic?"
"Sometimes people in leadership have to do things that are unethical" - Ravi Zacharias
And now, Steve Baughman has uncovered more of the same . . . Ravi has a history of seeking sexual gratification for himself, using his position of power and trust to obtain those "favors." This is clergy sexual misconduct and spiritual abuse!
Minimizing, denying, and blaming are tactics used by abusive leaders and groups to maintain power and control over their members.
The two former Ravi-colleagues both clearly remember that Ravi did not preach at the graduation. That was a role reserved for the college president. So they checked the program from that day and then shared it with me.
The evidence against Ravi Zacharias is, after all, serious and compelling. If evangelicals ignore it they will show the world that they do not take their Holy Bible seriously (1 Timothy 5:20).
At the very least, we should have seen Feltner take responsibility for his clergy sexual misconduct. That never happened...
God has instituted qualifications for elders regardless if someone feels a certain calling. Wes Feltner's supposed calling does not override God's guideline for elders.
The SBC has been getting push back about selecting "designated survivors" to speak. Was he doing damage control by mentioning the names of the survivors/advocates they chose not to speak? Were the ones chosen to speak selected so that the SBC can control the narrative?
What Tullian did was disgusting. But I am telling you, Julie Anne, your relentless pursuit of this story is not helping in the compassionate stand-up-for-justice way you think it is. My prayer is that your eyes are opened to the bitterness and hate that you are catering to, and how anti-Christian this material is.
Part 5 focuses on the other side of Mr Tchividjian's misuse of his platform as a Christian celebrity minister, speaker, and writer – his accountability system victims: superiors, peers, and subordinates.
What courage must it have taken to publicly post a call for Tullian Tchividjian to repent? To apologize for having amplified his impact? To resign from the board of his newly resurrected non-profit? To remove from their ministry website various resources he'd produced? To cancel contracts that would extend his influence?
What did it cost those who were close to him in terms of ministry – especially those who held authority to oversee his recovery plans, and those who'd been his platform peers?
These are the kinds of questions we should consider as we read this final piece in the case study of Tullian Tchividjian and the details of his abuse of systems, ministry, and accountability ...
It’s not the job of any supervisor, peer, or subordinate to prevent Tullian Tchividjian from sinning, whether he does so mildly or spectacularly. It wasn’t the role of his non-profit board, church sessions, publishing house legal departments, counselors, friends, etc. It’s not even possible. He himself is responsible for his own choices and their impact.
... there were over 150 individuals in at least 10 institutions who had direct connections with Tullian Tchividjian as his superiors, peers, or subordinates. And yet, it seems nobody could keep him from his two extramarital sexual involvements he has already admitted to (after they were discovered or disclosed), or from his reported predatory/seductive behavior patterns, or from his reported multiple failures to tell the full truth.
What does real-world remediation / repentance look like? How can we see what it takes in both attitudes and actions to accomplish damage repair? This post gives three examples of remediation (repair work) — one dealing with a product, one with a denominational organization, one with a social system. Each is notable for seeking to engage in a constructive way parties who were directly involved, and in some cases those who were indirectly affected.
Systemic abuse always includes a degree of relational manipulation to get/keep people hooked in, as well as deception in order to hide the truth.