"The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable, a violation of mankind's most basic duty to protect the innocent."
My heart breaks for children who suffer at the hands of adults. This morning's massacre of 20 children and 6 adults at a Connecticut school is a powerful reminder of how precious life is. Please keep their loved ones in your prayers.
Two days ago an ex-megachurch worker in Tulsa, Oklahoma confessed to sex crimes against three young females and was sentenced to 55 years in prison. The Huffington Post reports:
"A former janitor at a Tulsa megachurch who admitted to sex crimes against three girls told his victims Wednesday that "no one's perfect" in an statement in which he pointed to Scripture just before a judge sentenced him to 55 years in prison.
A 13-year-old girl who was raped by Chris Denman sobbed in the first row of the courtroom as the judge handed down the sentence. The scandal at Victory Christian Center also ensnared five other church employees who are accused of waiting to report the August rape in a church stairwell.
Denman faced up to life in prison after pleading guilty to raping the 13-year-old, molesting a 15-year-old girl and propositioning a 12-year-old. It wasn't clear if all three girls were in the courtroom Wednesday, but when the judge gave Denman an opportunity to speak, Denman directed his statement to them.
Denman apologized to the girls, then summarized a Bible verse in which Jesus said, 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.'
'No one's perfect,' the 20-year-old Denman said. 'I'll admit to everything I did. I want to go to prison.' "
The three victims were 12, 13, and 15 when they were assaulted.
"The mother of the 13-year-old said in her statement that her daughter had lost her childhood and that her girl's sense of safety had been shattered as a result of the sexual assault," according to The News Tribune. That news source goes on to state:
"Among those accused of waiting to report the rape are the son and daughter-in-law of the ministry's co-founder and senior pastor.
Denman pleaded in October guilty to first-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, making a lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. He did not have a plea agreement with prosecutors.
A second former employee at the 17,000-member church awaits trial on a charge of making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child."
Perhaps it was the possibility of a lawsuit against the son and daughter-in-law of the ministry's co-founder that caught Jared Wilson's eye. Yesterday, he featured a post entitled Safeguarding Against Abuse in the Church. As one of the commenters stated, it is long overdue. Wilson writes:
"Quite often in retrospect these cases reveal not simply mistakes made but systemic dysfunctions in a church community and a church’s discipleship culture. Below is a list of safeguards: some are obvious bare minimums, others are harder to implement and run deeper than superficial processes and procedures, but all are ways to help establish a church community as a safe place".
Is Wilson just giving lip service here? It certainly appears that Sovereign Grace Ministries under the leadership of C.J. Mahaney has systemic problems that have long been ignored by the Calvinista crowd. Just look at how many days have gone by without anyone in the Calvinista conclave addressing the lawsuit against SGM.
What has been troubling for quite some time is that the Gospel Coalition crowd appears to be ignoring the abuse that has taken place in some of the ministries in their camp for quite some time. Not that long ago Dee and I had an e-mail exchange with a pastor who identifies with TGC leaders, and we challenged him to look into the complaints against Sovereign Grace Ministries and C.J. Mahaney as well as Gary Ezzo and his Babywise books. His response – we were guilty of character assassination!
Could it be that the Calvinistas are breaking their silence and speaking out about abuse against women and children for deniability? In other words, are they are attempting to show that they truly care about the victims by publishing this kind of information?
With regard to SGM, the longer The Gospel Coalition crowd postpones addressing the lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries and eight individuals, the more embarrassing their silence will be. When the systemic problems of SGM are revealed through court proceedings, their sycophants will go running for cover. As Dee has already predicted, we believe it will be one of the top stories for 2013 and will send shock waves throughout Christendom.
We are especially proud of Julie Anne Smith for challenging Jared Wilson on his post. Here is their exchange:
December 14, 2012 at 11:36 am
"Jared – I’m glad to see this list. It’s a great start. What about accountability among church leaders, not specifically subordinates. How do you see this taking place? I’m referring to a specific lawsuit among one in your group. I don’t see that there is a solution to that loophole. If you have a president of an organization who has failed to follow appropriate steps, do his close connections within a group such as Gospel Coalition have an obligation to address this situation at a private level and then at a public level if they see no action taking place? This is a real problem and we will continue to see this happen until someone addresses it. Jared, I applaud you for taking the first step, but we as a church must do better."
Jared C. Wilson
December 14, 2012 at 11:58 am
"Julie Anne, accountability among networks and affiliations is difficult and subject to the nature of those networks and affiliations.
I know you’re referring to a specific case, but I have to respond generally and theoretically, b/c it is not true that nothing public has been said/done by brothers in The Gospel Coalition and it is not true that no action is taking place (lawsuit, verdict pending) in relation to the issue you’re referring to. That’s all I’ll say about that, for three reasons: 1) I don’t know the parties involved, neither the accused nor the accusers, so it amounts to gossip for me to host speculation, ignorance for me to pontificate, and libel for me to level charges, 2) I am not a council member of the Gospel Coalition so it is not my place to speak “for” TGC, but only for myself as a guest of TGC’s blog portal, and 3) discussion of specific cases is not what this post is about, opening illustrative link notwithstanding."
But answering theoretically:
Friends/associates of an accused person aren’t obligated to speak out about accusations against their associate, but sometimes it would be appropriate, yes.
I don’t know how such accountability should take place within parachurch networks. Again, it depends on the nature of the association/network, how top-down it is, what is involved to join, etc. At the very least, in egregious cases of unrepentant sin, I suppose it would begin with removing them from the network/organization. Thanks for your comment."
I am grateful for those who are speaking out about abuse, whether it be emotional, physical, sexual, or spiritual. Let's keep bringing attention to these abuses via the internet. Hopefully, through our combined efforts we can be a catalyst for change. If anyone should be standing up for those who are victimized, it should be Christians!
Lydia's Corner: Numbers 2:1-3:51 Mark 11:27-12:17 Psalm 47:1-9 Proverbs 10:24-25