Dedicated to those leaders who ignore child sex abuse: “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” – Mitch Garabedian link
What is the Number 1 reason that churches get sued?
Recently, Church Law and Tax posted a great infographic. The number one reason that churches wound up in court, from 2010-2014, is due to sex abuse of a minor. Make sure you understand this. This is why churches are going to court these days.
Is the SBC deliberately ignoring the issue of child sex abuse?
In 2014, Political Research Associates, a group which challenges the Right, posted When the “Family Values” Agenda Includes Child Sex Abuse At first, I was inclined to blow it off since it seemed to be politically driven. However, they made an excellent observation. Observing that Catholics and Baptist have much in common when it comes to child sex abuse, they quoted Boz Tchividjian.
Boz Tchividjian rattled the evangelical world in 2013, when he declared that the problem of child sex abuse in evangelicalism is “worse” than the problem in the Roman Catholic Church.
They proceeded to quote Robert Parnham of the Baptist Center for Ethics.
Tchividjian is not the only prominent evangelical speaking out. “Catholic and Baptist leaders have more similarities than differences on the child-abuse front,” wrote Robert Parnham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. “Both have harmed church members and the Christian witness by not swiftly addressing predatory clergy and designing reliable protective systems.” –
They go on to quote Peter Lumpkins who believes that the SBC is ignoring his 2013 resolution. I think he is right.
Indeed, Rev. Peter Lumpkins of Georgia called for the SBC’s governing body to adopt “a zero-tolerance policy toward the sexual abuse of children in churches,” but now thinks church officials are ignoring his 2013 resolution.
The article then throws in the zinger. It was written in 2014 which was the 5th year of statistics that showed that the number one reason churches are sued is due to child sex abuse. Yet, the ERLC did not think it important to make child sex abuse and the church a subject of discussion when it came to their conference on The Gospel and Human Sexuality.
As just one example, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), SBC’s public policy arm, is holding an April “summit” in Nashville on “The Gospel and Human Sexuality.” Yet the program fails to include anything about child sex abuse. “From broken marriages to pornography to homosexuality, sexual confusion and sexual brokenness has ravaged our culture and can deteriorate the integrity of our churches,” the published program declares. It assures prospective conferees that they can “discover” how their “church and local congregations can be a beacon of hope, clarity, and restoration as the gospel is brought to bear on human sexuality.”
To add insult to injury, this sexuality summit featured a pastor who was entangled in the cover up of child sex abuse and it was not CJ Mahaney since he wasn't Baptist in 2014.
Adding insult to injury, Rev. Greg Belser, a man who epitomizes the problem in the SBC, is not only a member of the ERLC’s “leadership council,” but also a panelist at the sex summit. The Senior Pastor at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Mississippi, Belser also happens to be at the center of a major, ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal. In other words, the ERLC—the SBC body with delegated responsibility for addressing sex abuse within churches—features as a leader someone who himself is deeply entangled in a cover-up of abuse.
I went over to the ERLC website and searched for posts about child sex abuse. There were 15 results, many of which did not deal with the issue at hand. Then, I searched homosexuality. There were 100 resources. It is rather obvious that the ERLC does not seem too concerned with child sex abuse.
It appears that Russell Moore is also a buddy of CJ Mahaney. Look at Moore's book, Adopted for Life at Amazon. He appears to stress that Mahaney wrote the Foreward to his book.
Adopted for Life (Foreword by C. J. Mahaney): The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches
Here is what an astute commenter had to say.
I understand that a future version of the book will not have C.J. Mahaey's foreword. I cannot endorse a book that is supported by an organization that has continued to downplay the reality of child abuse in the church.
Looks like the ERLC is doing some spring cleaning. It removed a post by Mahaney. I still have my usual question. Did CJ Mahaney or SGM contribute any money to the ERLC or to the ministry of Russell Moore?
Some church leaders want to handle sex abuse cases internally.
In a 2016 article by Christianity Today, discussing the SGM scandals, some families said that they were told that churches should handle child sex abuse allegations via a Bible based Reconciliation process and they should keep the secular authorities out of the matter.
“Various families quoted in the article said church leaders recommended that allegations of child sex abuse be handled internally through a Bible-prescribed reconciliation process rather than turned over to secular authorities, something Sovereign Grace Ministries has denied” (“Tale of evangelical sex scandal hits Washington newsstands,” BaptistNews.com).
The article got something wrong. They claim that SGM ministries has denied that they counseled their people in such a manner. However, CJ Mahaney's brother in law, Grant Layman, admitted under oath, that he did not report the abuse to the authorities. So we know at least one SGM pastor did what was alleged.
The SBC demonstrates ignorance when it comes to child sex abuse.
LifeWay Resources posted an article on how to protect your church from lawsuits when it comes to children.
Require that there be no unsupervised cross-gender contact. For instance, don't allow a male youth worker to be alone with a female member of a youth group under any circumstance.
There should never be unsupervised contact between any youth worker and any child. In my former church, the MALE molester is spending 13 years after molesting a number of young MALE teens.
The SBC is now controlled by the Calvinists. Therefore, they get to deal with the problems and they get the blame as well.
Baptist News Global posted Child abuse a Calvinist problem, podcast says. We wrote about this podcast here. Let's take a closer look at one of the statements. Aimee Byrd states this could also demonstrate a disregard for the concerns of women who tend to be attuned to these issues. (Don''t worry, the Deebs know that many, many men are tuned into this as well.) Remember, Byrd is Reformed so she does not have a theological bone to pick.
Aimee Byrd, described on the blog as a wife, mother, blogger and author, said attempts by pastors to suppress and withhold communication about abuse cases can backfire into creating an environment of mistrust more — and not less — likely to breed false accusations.
“There’s wondering,” she said. “There’s mystery involved. ‘Was my child around these sex abusers I’m hearing about? Was my child in one of these people’s homes?’ Kids go through normal things in life like night terror and stuff like that, but you might have that in your home and think, ‘Maybe my child was sexually abused and this is going on and we’re not getting any answers. So maybe someone has abused my child.’ I can just see how if it isn’t communicated well, and if the proper steps aren’t made, then I would think there would be more false allegations because of that.”
Byrd said attempts by male leaders to minimize abuse also sends a message about “how women are viewed and treated in the church.”
“Is it a culture where women are hurt by these things?” she asked. “Are women just seeing boys clubs where they’re not being heard and it’s not even approachable for them?”
The article started with this statement.
Child abuse isn’t just a Catholic problem, it’s also a Calvinist problem, according to an April 20 podcast sympathetic to the so-called “young, restless and reformed” movement popular among evangelicals belonging to denominations including the Southern Baptist Convention
Why I believe that The Reformed and /or SBC leaders are talking out of both sides of their mouths.
The Deebs have still not recuperated from the joke that Al Mohler, who is the smartest man on the planet according to CJ Mahaney, told at T4G2016 about Googling Mahaney's name. Such a search of course, brings up all of the articles from around the globe dealing with the sex abuse scandals at Sovereign Grace Ministries. There were lots of giggles from the dudebros in attendance. How could they show such crass disregard for the pain and suffering of child sex abuse victims?!
We believe that the continued support for CJ Mahaney and his boys by men like Al Mohler demonstrates that T4G, The Gospel Coalition, and a number of SBC and Reformed seminaries are not taking child sex abuse seriously.
Enter Tim Challies…
Raw Story posted an excellent article Jesus wept: There were 12 reported incidents of Christian pastors molesting kids — in just the last month
According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. The exact number of actual sexual assaults is unknown since many victims never speak up or, in some cases like Florida, the sexual assault is hushed up.
Sexual abuse within the Christian community that either ignores it or attempts to sweep it under the rug became a hot topic in 2015 after it was revealed that popular Christian celebrities Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar attempted to hide the fact that their son Josh had molested several of his sisters when they were younger.
The Raw Story decided to interview Tim Challies!
According to Christian writer Tom Challies, sexual predators gravitate to churches because Christians are taught to submit to authority in an atmosphere that encourages trust. Church programs also offer easy access to the children of parishioners.
Quoting from writer Deepak Reju’s On Guard: Preventing and Responding To Child Abuse At Church, Challies writes: “Many Christians don’t know how to distinguish likability and trustworthiness. They confuse the two categories, assuming that if someone is courteous and nice, they must also be trustworthy. Moreover, some Christians behave as though the problem doesn’t exist, and some look with suspicion on reports of abuse. They believe children are lying and are more prone to take an adult’s word. Sexual predators know that these dynamics operate in churches, and they know they can get away with a lot on account of it”
After I banged my head on the table and scared the pug dogs, I became angry. Tim Challies had a lot of nerve to say the following.
some Christians behave as though the problem doesn’t exist, and some look with suspicion on reports of abuse. They believe children are lying and are more prone to take an adult’s word.
Tim Challies is the poster boy for the Calvinistas who prop up and honor CJ Mahaney in spite of allegation after allegation. Here are some infamous statements by Challies regarding the SGM situation. He said learning about the allegations was not good time management and would not be spiritually beneficial. Could someone tell Tim that the kids who were abused probably didn't find it spiritually beneficial as well.
I recall meeting Mahaney only one time and for no more than two or three minutes. To my knowledge we have never corresponded by email or any other media. He and I have never shared a speaking platform and I have never spoken at a SGM event (though I did liveblog a couple of them several years ago). All this to say that I write as an outside observer rather than as a personal friend and write this article primarily for the benefit of other outside observers.
…For this reason I have deliberately avoided learning too much. I have had to question my motives, especially since I have repeatedly been on the receiving end of scathing criticism for not using my platform to speak out against Mahaney. I have chosen to read the news stories, to understand the basic facts, but conscience compels me to stop there. To do more may not be spiritually beneficial, it may not reflect good time management, and it may not be loving toward those who are involved.
In his original article he did not waste any time expressing concern for any possible victims. In fact, he claimed that silence was more loving. To make matters worse, he, along with unnamed BFFs with whom he discussed this, decided to "not have an opinion."
However, the majority of us are far on the outside with very little at stake. For this reason many of us simply do not need to have an opinion.
To make matters worse, he downplayed his relationship to Mahaney which we called him on a few days later. Here is an excerpt from that post.
Oh, we failed to call attention to Tim Challies' remark that he is a co-founder of Cruciform Press. What a clever name for a Christian publishing company. Cruciform means "forming or arranged in a cross".
"…let me tell you about an exciting new venture I am involved in. Let me introduce you to [insert drum roll here] Cruciform Press.
Cruciform Press is an alternative publishing company designed from the ground up to operate in the digital marketplace. And it officially launches today.
This is a collaborative effort between Kevin Meath (book editor extraordinaire who has edited books for authors like C.J. Mahaney, Paul David Tripp and Dave Harvey), Bob Bevington (an entrepreneur and optometrist who also happens to co-author books with Jerry Bridges) and me. Together we see the need for a model of publishing that begins with, not extends to, the new realities of this digital world.
As a publisher getting its start at the cusp of the digital age, our model is slightly different from traditional publishers. We are focusing on books between 10,000 and 25,000 words (roughly 50 to 100 pages) and will offer them at great prices in print-on-demand, e-book and audiobook formats. And we intend to publish a new book on the first of every month."
Cruciform Press Founders
As mentioned above, Cruciform Press was co-founded by Kevin Meath, Bob Bevington, and Tim Challies. Meath serves as the Publisher and Editor hat, Bevington is the Executive Director, and Challies is Strategy and Acquisitions.
We believe Kevin Meath is the Smoking Gun. Meath's bio on the Cruciform Press website says it all. Here's how it begins:
"Kevin has more than 25 years professional experience as an editor, including eleven years as chief editor for Sovereign Grace Ministries. He has worked on more than 40 book projects for the Christian market, and has edited for C.J. Mahaney, Paul Tripp, John Piper, Jerry Bridges, Joel Beeke, Richard D. Phillips, Scotty Smith, Dave Harvey, and many others. He has worked with Multnomah, Crossway, Reformation Trust, Shepherd Press, New Growth Press, Founders Press, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Revive Our Hearts, Focus on the Family, Desiring God, and others."
Meath also features testimonials by the likes of C.J. Mahaney, Paul Tripp, Bob Kauflin, Dave Harvey, and Gary Ricucci. Also, you might be interested to know that Kevin Meath was heavily involved in the publication of Sovereign Grace Magazine. He writes:
"Sovereign Grace magazine was published for more than 20 years, most of that time as a bi-monthly. I served as Editor for the final seven years.
When it came time to plan an issue, C.J. Mahaney and I would work together to identify the issue theme, as well as the lead teaching articles and their respective authors. I would then work with the authors of the teaching, news, and testimony articles to bring the issue to completion, although sometimes I was also tasked with converting a sermon transcript or book chapter into an article on behalf of the author… The issues shown here included articles that later contributed to several books, including C.J.'s Humility: True Greatness, Living the Cross-Centered Life, and Worldliness, and Bob Kauflin's Worship Matters."
According to the testimonials link above, here are some of the projects on which Meath has collaborated:
- When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage – Dave Harvey
- Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace – Gary and Betsy Ricucci
- Songs for the Cross Centered Life – Sovereign Grace Music
- Upward: The Bob Kauflin Hymns Project – Sovereign Grace Music
- Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know – C.J. Mahaney
- Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood (Foundations for the Family Series) – Wayne Grudem
- Valley of Vision – Sovereign Grace Music
- The Cross Centered Life (both editions) – C.J. Mahaney
- Awesome God – Sovereign Grace Music
- Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Becoming Man – Sovereign Grace Music
- Preaching the Cross – Together for the Gospel by Mark Dever, J. Ligon Duncan, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., C.J. Mahaney (2007)
- All We Long to Sing – Sovereign Grace Music
- Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood (Foundations of the Family) – Wayne Grudem and Dennis Rainey
- Why Small Groups? – C.J. Mahaney
Yes, we have Kevin Meath to thank for these 'gospelrific' projects. Now you know the behind the scenes individual to thank… As Cruciform Press gets established, you can be sure that they will be cranking out more of these kinds of projects. Just what we need…
Getting back to Tim Challies, he established himself by riding the coattails of high profile Calvinistas like Mahaney. Now that he's his own man and 'business' partner of SGM's former editor, he just doesn't want to know that much about the SGM mess. After all, It's not good 'time management' and besides that, it's not good for 'business'…
Child sex abuse does not appear to be a priority for the Neo-Reformed and/or SBC crowd but conferences, books, money, church discipline and homosexuality are. If they continue to demonstrate their lack of concern for child sex abuse within their tribes, they will continue lose (and are currently losing) in the court of public opinion. Just ask the Catholics.
We continue to believe that there is a lot of money involved in the Reformed and/or Baptist world when it comes to celebrity pastors. We also believe that CJ Mahaney has established himself firmly in this group as they have share stages, platforms, etc. We know that CJ Mahaney has given lots of money to SBTS, Wayne Grudem's ministry, Mark Dever's/ CHBC ministry, etc. It appears that it may have been a worthy investment resulting in many happy returns. However, people are watching and the giggles about child sex abuse cover up have been noted.
Another TWW tutorial
The following story is about a place where convicted sex offenders live in community. I found something lacking in the story. I bet our regular readers will get it. I challenge the Nwo-Reformed/SBC crowd to read it and see if they can see what is missing.