Penn State Victims: When an SBC Theologian Sounds Like Harold Camping

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” Herbert Walker


Milky Way Galaxy-NASA


Once again, TWW has to ask a question. What in the world are they teaching in SBC schools these days? A logical second question is this. Could it be that the latest teachings on males as patriarchs, advanced by seminaries such as Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, contribute to the new “Gospel” theology of “protect the pervert?”

Whatever happened to the moral outrage of a community when it is found out that one of their own has been preying on the vulnerable? Whatever happened to the need for sermons to tell people not to take justice into their own hands and let the legal system do its job?

It seems to me that the greatest outrage within the SBC today is reserved for women who might dare to become leaders or for those who believe that the earth is older than 6000 years.

Jim Denison is president of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture and theologian-in-residence for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He is formerly pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church, a huge congregation in Dallas. He now is president of the Center for Informed Faith and is a distinguished adjunct professor of religion at Dallas Baptist University.

So, what does this “theologian” have to say about the alleged Penn State victims who were as young as 10 years old? Those stupid children did not follow Scripture!!! Yep, read it again. Those kids did not behave “Biblically."

Let’s take a look at the “Biblical” reasoning of this “theologian in residence” The entire article can be found here.

Denison says that the kids should have gone back to the alleged rapist for “resolution.”

"First, God's word tells us what to do when we have been wronged: "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you" (Matthew 18:15). It would have been best for the alleged abuse victims at Penn State and the NRA to go directly to those who wronged them. If they were refused resolution, they should then have informed others and finally made the matter public if necessary." 
(vs. 16-17).

Let's see, how would that work? "Gee, Mr Sandusky, I felt hurt that you would do such things to me. I didn't even know what it was called. Maybe I made you feel that I wanted to play?" Good night!

Try to figure out this next piece of advice one on “restoration.”

"Second, Scripture teaches us what to do when we are in the wrong: "If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24). We should seek restoration immediately." 

 If he is referring to the “alleged pervert” Sandusky apparently never attempted to deal with his perversion for years. If he is referring to the kids, what in the world did they do wrong?

And what is this baloney about immediate restoration? To what?! His job? To his foundation working with kids? Immediate? Did this “theologian in residence, (henceforth to be know as TIR), ever google the recidivism rate for child molesters? Restore? Good night! This guy should be banned from ever being within a block of kids again.
 

Potentially illegal advice

Next, we are treated to some drivel about how God weeps with those who weep. I see precious little weeping from Denison. He proceeds to say that God will seek justice. I don’t know if TIRs understand that God allows civil authorities to have power in this world and our laws say that this guy must be arrested and have his day in court.

In fact, the law, in most states, indicates that all molestations must be reported to law enforcement. Darn finicky law, balling up the “restoration machine.” It seems to this blogger that TIR is palavering for a secret tete a tete that would be kept outside of the law if "reconciliation" is accomplished. This could be illegal advice if it is meant to conceal a crime.

He then makes an incomprehensible comment

“Where is this tragedy personal for you? Whether you empathize more with those who allege that they have been abused or with those who have been accused of wrongdoing, you know the pain of innocent suffering.”

Exactly who is he claiming is innocent here? Here is the bottom line. I empathize with those who have been deeply hurt with a pain that will travel with them throughout their lives.

Last month, I heard an excellent talk given by a Christian doctor who had been in charge of medical care in federal penitentiaries. He said there are counselors and chaplains available for the prisoners. And this is the venue that Sandusky should receive such assistance if he is found guilty. Maybe theologians could go to the jails and disciple the pedophiles. In fact, maybe there is a need for "theologians in residence" at the prison. Doesn't the Bible say something about remembering the prisoners?

Well, needless to say, if this is what stands as “theological expertise” then the SBC is in big trouble. When men, such as Denison, do not stand up for the innocent and, in fact, imply that child victims are “unbiblical,” we have a crisis of leadership. Where are the SBC pastors condemning this Denison’s statement? Where are the SBC “theologians?” The silence of the patriarchs is deafening. Unfortunately, this sort of theology is on the rise within both the conservative SBC and certain Neo-Calvinist groups.

We have a frequent commenter who consistently points out that Christian leaders seem to cherry pick Bible verses. For example, why did TIR neglect to mention this verse from Matthew 18:6 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” It sure seems like Jesus had a thing about those who harm children, didn’t He?

Unfortunately, it seems that Denison suggests that we “revictimize” the molested children. Bag the millstone. Let's get Sandusky "restored."

Please refer to the well-written blog by The Big Daddy Weave here.

“Now, try to digest that for a moment if you can. Denison is arguing that the biblical approach per Scripture (“been best”) would have been for the young boy who was sodomized in that Penn State locker room to first confront his rapist Jerry Sandusky PRIOR to informing anyone including the police.

It is indeed disturbing to see a Baptist leader such as Denison interpret and apply the Bible in such a gross way that (if this awful advice were followed) would have the effect of revictimizing sexual abuse victims.”
  

A thoughtful comment was posted over at the ABP post on Denison.

“To suggest that a raped child should approach his attacker and confront him upon is abusive behavior is both a gross misunderstanding of Scripture and ridiculous misunderstanding of the psychology involved in an attacker/victim relationship. The more applicable passage of Scripture is "it would be better for a milestone to be hung about his neck."

The SBC has had far too many of it’s churches involved in pedophile scandals. One only needs to visit Stop Baptist Predators here to get the picture. The SBC has also not gone out of it’s way to track Baptist predators in the pulpit. With SBC “theologians” now weighing in on Biblically deficient victims , the SBC is starting to look more and more like the Catholic church in it’s responses to this crisis. Instead of a "theologian in residence" I think we need a "pedophile in residence" at the big house and some trained abuse experts teaching a class or two at seminaries.

How anyone could think that Denison is offering valid “Christian” theology is beyond this woman. But this I do know for sure, this is one of the most fractured readings of Scripture since Harold Camping predicted the end of the world. So much for “theologians in residence.”

 

Lydia's Corner: Nehemiah 1:1-3:14 1 Corinthians 7:1-24 Psalm 31:19-24 Proverbs 21:4

 

Comments

Penn State Victims: When an SBC Theologian Sounds Like Harold Camping — 70 Comments


  1. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    A logical second question is this. Could it be that the latest teachings on males as patriarchs, advanced by seminaries such as Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, contribute to the new “Gospel” theology of “protect the pervert?”

    Many years ago, radio talk-show host and Jewish lay theologian Dennis Prager wrote an online essay that got him in some trouble.

    Titled “Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality”, he mentioned that before Torah redefined sex as between husband and wife, male and female (making all other forms taboo), most cultures defined sex not as male-and-female but Penetrator-and-Penetrated. (AKA Dom & Sub, Top & Bottom, Superior & Inferior.) Especially when you compare the face-to-face missionary position with the rear-entry “doggie style” which some preachers told me was the normal position for the tribal cultures bordering the Jews. The former position is face-to-face between near-equals; the latter has the Penetrated crouching in Submission beneath the Penetrator — two animals in a forced-dominance display.

    Something similar Thomas Cahill wrote in Gifts of the Jews triggered a response in words from my 20 years in-country in Furry Fandom. Specifically, that God’s message in Torah (and by extension his later Words) is an invitation to “Transcend the Animal.”

    Sandusky was in a position of power and authority over his victims. Sandusky was forcing dominance on his victims like an animal. And those preachers who blame the victims are aiding and abetting the antithesis of Torah, cheering on a devolution from man back to animal.


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    OMG. The complete lack of understanding and compassion + the sheer brazenness of this is UNbelievable. (Except that it … doesn’t surprise me at all.)


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    Hello WW. I’ve been reading for a while, but finally feel compelled to post in light of this travesty.

    You know…I would love to be shocked at the advice given, but I’m not. Outraged, but not shocked. Denison’s comments seem similar to a theology that I have observed among Calvinistas that I like to call “purism.” They read the Bible, adopt the most convenient interpretation to serve their needs, and lastly they apply their interpretation in the most wooden, mechanical way possible. They cloak this under the banner of “Biblical;” if you happen to disagree with them, there are two possible options: (1) You believe a false Gospel and live unbibically or (2) You believe a “watered down” Gospel and are missing out. Do it their way, or you are in danger of “impurity.”

    I can hear Denison’s defenders now: “Scripture demands confrontation and reconciliation before you make the matter public” (and by public they mean telling the local church, and not the authorities because church discipline handles the problem, right?). “He simply stated the Biblical order for handling the problem.”

    That alone is enough to get my blood pressure up. But what’s most infuriating is that these so called “theologians” and “Biblical scholars” have either ignorantly, or purposefully, neglected a certain verse about causing children to stumble (or sin depending on your translation). But I guess they can just pick and choose what verses to believe.


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    A) Is Dennison a Calvinist or is this just a perjorative term we toss at anybody we don’t like in Christendom?

    B) Was Dennison suggesting that children go confront Sandusky or was he suggesting the now grown victim go confront Sandusky?

    I don’t know the answer to that, nor do I know if Dennison is a Calvinist. (I do know SBC pastors are, at this time, overwhelmingly NOT Calvinist according to the stats of a couple of years ago.)


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    Seneca

    I did not call him a Calvinist. I said that the idea of a male patriarchy has been coming out of some seminaries-including SBTS.

    As for the rest of your comment, I am impressed that you would even think that there is a simple, good explanation for this asinine statement. A crime was committed. The people who were molested should have reported this crime to the authorities.

    But, this raises a question, Seneca-are you all for “immediate restoration” of a pedophile?


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    One comment removed by editor.


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    This is such bad advice, it’s hard to fathom.

    Read this and follow all you who are simple minded:

    If a crime has been committed against you, or someone you know, especially a child – go to the civil authorities whom God has ordained to investigate and, if appropriate, to prosecute such activities.

    Taking Jesus’ instructions from Matthew 18 and trying to apply them without any context or without any reference to the many other biblical instructions is inexcusable.

    And it’s not like these issues haven’t been discussed for hundreds of years. Church history would have helped this guy a bunch.

    This guy is not alone.

    Just this week a group in our town is purporting to tell all of the clergy from various denominations in the city just how bad and un-Christlike US immigration policy is. They are going to give us a Bible lesson in what modern immigration policy should be. They are going to read verse or two and launch from there.

    This all brings to mind Adrian Rogers famous statement that one of the many reasons he believes the Bible is the Word of God is that it has survived such shoddy preaching and application over the years.

    Lord, help us.


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    This is pretty much INSANE thinking. The victim is an adult now, but even so, why should he have to go face the alleged abuser to be reconciled? As a child he certainly should never be expected to go back to that environment. The adults who supposedly witnessed the abuse and did not make sure it was stopped – whatever that would have taken — should be held accountable also. As an adult, the victim(s) should only deal with the issues by way of the law. I also don’t understand why this has been under investigation for years?? Anyone have the info on that.

    Another error I often see is when preachers/theologians(?) (and many others) try to apply biblical standards to/on those who may not be or are not believers. To expect an unbeliever to respond to anything in life from a biblical perspective is just foolishness, yet I have seen many people (parents included) attempt to do this.

    Non Calvanista . . . – would they really try to apply that scripture in this situation and with unbelievers??


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    @Seneca

    I apologize if my comment is misleading or unclear. I was not labeling Denison as a Calvinist, neo-Calvinist, Calvinista, etc. I was simply noting a similarity between his statements and the theology I have observed in the church that I (for the moment) attend, as well as in many other neo-Calvinist churches. In no way am I using Calvinist or Calvinism in a pejorative sense. If I did, I would be insulting myself.


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    “Immediate restoration?”
    Seems to me Dee, restoration going to take considerable time, years perhaps if at all. Secondly, restoration doesn’t mean a pedophile gets to work in children’s Sunday School -ever – for the children’s sake and for his sake.
    Should the body of believers attempt to minister to the worst of sinners? I hope so.
    Can God change hearts and minds? I hope so.
    I don’t have all the answers, not sure as I get older than I even have some of the answers.

    I am reminded of King David’s sin. It appears he was 7-9 months past his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband when God tapped Nathan on the shoulder and told him it was time to deal with David. So God gave it some time before he even confronted King David.
    There were two consequences:
    a) the child would died. b) “the sword” would never leave David’s house (a succession of deaths). It was pretty harsh punishment.

    Then God, in His incomprehensible grace puts David and Bathesheba’s son, Solomon, in the Davidic line leading to Christ. Simply amazing, incomprehensible grace.


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    @Bridget2

    It would make logical sense to not expect nonbelievers to follow Scripture. Sadly, I have witnessed the inverse firsthand while growing up. I sincerely believe that many people in the faith simply believe that you should throw verses at nonbelievers, and then all will be well.

    As far as my mention of the verse about leading children astray, I meant that Denison should not tell the child victims to confront their abuser. While the his statement doesn’t explicitly differentiate between “then” and “now,” I (quite possibly erroneously) read it as meaning “confront the abuser then.”

    Again, sorry if I was unclear. Maybe I should go back for a composition course.


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    I just turned 58 and have been in the ministry 40 years. Just when you think you have heard everything…


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    Matthew 18? Seriously? Whose church are they going to take it to for the final step? The child victim’s or Sandusky’s?

    Denison is not qualified for his position.


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    “Seems to me Dee, restoration going to take considerable time, years perhaps if at all. Secondly, restoration doesn’t mean a pedophile gets to work in children’s Sunday School -ever – for the children’s sake and for his sake.
    Should the body of believers attempt to minister to the worst of sinners? I hope so.
    Can God change hearts and minds? I hope so.
    I don’t have all the answers, not sure as I get older than I even have some of the answers”

    I notice you did not mention prison. Pedophiles can be “restored” there.


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    Unfortunately, the article for ABP was a combination of two separate articles originally posted on Denison’s site. The Matthew 18 and Matthew 5 Scripture references were used in a piece entitled “How should Herman Cain respond?” They were not used in reference to the Penn State tragedy.

    http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/183-how-should-herman-cain-respond

    The Penn State articles were “The tragedy of Joe Paterno” and “How God feels about the Penn State tragedy”.

    http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/184-the-tragedy-of-joe-paterno
    http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/185-how-god-feels-about-the-penn-state-tragedy

    The main point of the first article was there is no such thing as private sin. The main point of the second article was that God grieves with us in these tragedies and that God will seek justice.

    So, the connection that the author of this article is making between the Scripture references and the tragedies is not what Denison intended as evidenced by the original content on his site.

    The other Penn State article was


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    Mj
    Are you saying that ABP deliberately misquoted Denison? I just reread the article. The article clearly says that the Penn State victims should have gone to their alleged abuser and confront him. Is this a scandal in the making ?


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    I’m just wondering if “something got lost in the translation”. The ABP article is clearly a combination of content from two other articles that Denison wrote prior to the ABP article. And, the original articles were written pretty close to the time the scandal broke, so even if Denison was suggesting the victims confront their alleged abuser, it’s a very real possibility that the age of the victims was unknown at the time the original content was written.

    All I’m suggesting is that before Denison is completely raked over the coals (although it may be too late for that), perhaps folks should read some of the original content that fed the ABP article to gain a more complete picture of Denison’s thoughts on each of the scandals (Cain and Penn State) that were referenced in the ABP article.


  18. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    Thanks so much Dee. You make me feel like I’m not the one taking crazy pills.


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    Mj
    I did read them. Denison clearly stated in theABP piece that the Penn State folks should have gone to their abuser. If he did not say it, there should be a retraction. There have been no retractions. So either the ABP lied or Denison said it. I am inclined to think he said it. I cannot imagine the ABP misquoting him this badly If they did they would be sued. So, unless I see something to the contrary, Denison has a lot of explaining to do.


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    Dana
    there are days I think I am hallucinaiing when I read this stuff. Usually takes two run-throughs before I believe that I didn’t get to The Onion by mistake. Has theology gone mad?


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    Wow. Talk about cherry-picking verses. Biblically speaking, my first stop is going to be Romans 13 and the government being given the power of the sword.

    What kool-aid is Dennison drinking?


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    Thankfully, Dennison’s argument doesn’t match what Al Mohler had to say: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/11/18/my-letter-to-the-southern-seminary-community-our-duty-to-report/

    Wonder if Mohler will take him to task, or excuse him the way he recently excused someone we’ve watched closely from the cheap seats?


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    Even if the victims were adults, if they had been raped by Sandusky, they still should have gone to the civil authorities.

    Matthew 18 is not to be used in the place of law enforcement situations where crimes have been committed.

    Maybe APB ran a story before the author knew the ages of the victims.

    But that doesn’t matter.

    If my 18 year old daughter or I were forceably raped (and we are both adults, not children), Matthew 18 is not in the least instructing us to go to the person who raped us.

    This is not complicated.


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    I absolutely understand the outrage at the suggestion that these young victims should have confronted their abusers. If the age of the victims was not known at the time the article was written or edited or put together, would that lessen the outrage?

    I read the original articles and see that Denison made no such suggestion in either of his original articles on the Penn State scandal. Then, I factor in the fact that the ABP is old-school newspaper where articles are prepared well in advance of actual publication, so I’m guessing that next to nothing was known about the victims at the time the ABP article was prepared.

    So, although I don’t see how any abuse victim could confront their abuser, I’m not near as inflamed because I don’t think that Denison knew the victims were children, nor do I think that he would’ve suggested children to do such a thing, especially after I read the original posts on his site.

    Well, it appears that the ABP carries stuff from Denison every couple of weeks, so maybe he’ll address this or clarify or explain in his next piece for them.


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    I apologize in advance for the reality that once I have asked my questions, it will be hours before I can return to read replies. I really want to hear other’s responses, I am just super-busy today. 🙂

    So here goes:

    Isn’t the making light of rape a long-time scriptural position of fundamentalists? I base this on every interpretation I have ever heard of the story of Sodom and Gommorah. In that story, an entire community banded together to perpetrate acts of sexual violence against the visiting angels, presumably because by picking on outsiders they feared no repercussion, at least not from within their own society.

    This community-endorsed mob sexual violence has never been an issue for fundamentalists. (I might add, even though Genesis records that God destroyed the earth by flood because the earth was filled with violence, so it’s pretty clear to me that God is not okay with violence.) Never. The gender of the proposed victims has always been the sticking point for them.

    The parallels between the story of Sodom and the story of the horribly abusive “husband” in Judges 19 are striking, and yet again, it is the gender of the proposed victim that offends the men in charge of fundamentalist Christianity. The violence of the husband against his wife is never brought up. In fact, that chapter of Judges is pretty much universally ignored on Sunday mornings.

    The implied message resulting from the theologians refusal to condemn the situation- forcible, cruel, violent gang rape- but rather focus on how wrong it was for these mobs to want to rape men is that violence against women is okay. Gay sex is an abomination to God, but he’s good with domestic violence against women and even gang rape. Just don’t touch a grown man, and God is good with it.

    Violence against women, children? Meh. Apparently these don’t really bother the god of fundamentalism all that much, at least not enough for their leaders to ever take a position. However they will likely preach that if you don’t follow through on a financial pledge you made under the duress of their high pressure building campaigns, God may very well take you out, a la Ananias and Sapphira.

    When you used the term “cherry picking” you hit the nail on the head. Exactly.

    So, the question: Isn’t the making light of rape a long-time scriptural position of fundamentalists? Excluding specifically the victimization of grown men, that is.


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    I have been a long time “reader” of this site. It has helped me deal with growing up and accepting the Lord in an abusive church.

    RE: Sandusky – isn’t Matthew talking about confronting a brother? a fellow christian? I don’t believe it means to confront any pervert with his crime. That doesn’t make sense. We, as christians, are to protect children not cause them more emotional pain and scarring whether it be from perverts inside or outside the church.


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    Nickname –

    Some may see from the “cheap seats.” But I like and claim the “Free Seats” for the rest of us. We may get a nose bleed now and then but we’ll be “free” and enjoying that freedom in the meantime 🙂


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    Denison’s name is affixed to the ABP opinion piece. No one has claimed that someone at ABP put their words in Denison’s piece. I don’t see where any quotes were involved and he is responsible for every word.

    If the Cain and Penn State matters were conflated Denison, a very intelligent man, is responsible for it. If he wishes to correct or disavow what he wrote ABP will surely give him the opportunity.

    This is one case where the SBC (Mohler) got it right, quickly and succinctly, and moderate Southern Baptists (Denison) got it wrong. It is usually the reverse.


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    OMG. The complete lack of understanding and compassion + the sheer brazenness of this is UNbelievable. (Except that it … doesn’t surprise me at all.) — Numo

    Well when God Saith Thy **** Doth Not Stink, you can be pretty brazen. (Especially if it’s all been Predestined to be so since before the Foundation of the World…)


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    Scooter’s Mom (love the nome de plume)

    I agree with your interpretation. I am absolutely flummoxed that any theologian could write this stuff.


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    William
    Liked the comment.


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    Dennison’s article shows he doesn’t get it. He needs to go back to Sunday School, and start over.

    Mohler’s article? The SBC doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to sexual abuse either. They won’t even get a predator base list together for their churches. They tend to whisk the person in question off to other churches instead. Didn’t they learn anything from the Catholics?

    SBC will claim its because of the independent status – something the IFB likes to use as well. That way they can distance themselves from this type of thing.

    Big deal Mohler is changing their wording on his campus. I hope they actually follow through with that, and enforce it as such. I’m not convinced personally.

    They seem to forget actions speak louder than words. Is the organizations, associations, etc within the southern baptist realm going to show their commitment to the victims by doing more than stating Mohler’s place is going to change their policy?

    I doubt it. The track record shows they will cover their butts, and run for the hills when things get to messy. The stories on Stop Baptist Predator’s site shows part the track record.

    I might start taking them for their word if they step out and stand firmly against one of their own. Its easy to point fingers outwardly – its hypercritical when you won’t do it internally.


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    Hannah
    Mohler is well aware of the rather jaded history of the SBC and pedophilia. Although I am glad he is examining his procedures, for once I would love to see him take a stand on something before it hits the news. I sometimes get the feeling he is saying “Look at me-me, too.”


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    I know Jim Dennison well; never in a hundred million years would he encourage a child who has been sexually molested to go to the rapist and seek reconciliation. MJ has it right about the two articles (Cain and Penn State)being meshed into one composition, resulting in the misunderstanding. As far as Dennison correcting these things……you will find out very soon!!


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    Captain
    If ABP offers a retraction or if Denison does the same, we will be happy to print it here. However, if there is any hint of Matthew 18 hooey in regards to a pedophile and his victim, including a child who was molested and is now an adult, we will have none of it. What happened was a crime. We must report crimes to the police. The SBC has a very jaded history in this area and nerves are a bit raw.


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    MJ and Captain —

    You seem to be saying that someone other than Jim Denison produced what is titled:

    “Opinion: Herman Cain and Joe Paterno, By Jim Denison, Monday, November 14, 2011.

    http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6932/9/

    How unethical — to engineer pieces of someone’s writings independent of the someone, and present it as an opinion piece expressly written by said someone.

    Surely ABP is above something like that.

    Assuming they are, and that Jim D. did in fact produce his opinion piece on purpose, he acknowledges that the victims were children:

    “…But the greatest tragedy is that on his watch, eight boys were allegedly abused over a 15-year period…”

    Just seems some acknowledgement of what is apparent would be fitting, instead of covering for the guy. Because the real issue is not Jim Denison. The real issue is the baptist climate of minimizing (sometimes down to nil) such crimes, the victims, and the enormous consequences they are left with.


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    Sorry Captain, this sounds like damage control. I can certainly imagine this came back to bite Denison. And I would like to see ABP admit they edited his articles to the extent you claim.

    Link to the original’s and let us decide. Or, have they been removed?


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    This is all beyond sickening, beyond disgusting, beyond words really.

    The only possible good that can come from such a ridiculous statement is that it might help some people realise that ‘blame the victim’ statements about abused women are equally, terribly wrong.

    And Shadowspring, I totally agree. I think it follows as the night the day that if you deny the voice and agency of women in your little patri-verse, pretty soon you downplay and minimise the things that happen to women. It’s the same logic as some have applied to other races they decided were inferior — the conclusion that since they were “made for” (whatever form of horrible treatment it might be), and since they belong to a “lower order” anyway, they don’t really suffer from these things the way a “man” would.


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    Lynne/Shadowspring

    I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a devout Roman Catholic. Although I do not necessarily agree with his theology, I do think he made an interesting point. He said that Protestants ignore the tremendous role of Mary played in the Incarnation. Jesus honored women with by choosing to come to earth, being born of a woman and being raised by her. My friend said that at least Catholics give attention to the role of a woman in the Incarnation even if they do not have women as priests. He said that Protestants tend to marginalize women and he thinks it is because they do not acknowledge the deep respect and honor Christ showed to His mother.

    I agree that there is marginalization of women in the faith. The patriarchs are blind to the ramifications of their “doctrine.” When you marginalize the contribution of women to the faith, one can find it easier to downplay other issues such as domestic violence.


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    I read today of a woman in Afghanistan who is serving a 12 year sentence in jail because:

    A) She was raped by her cousin’s husband
    B) she got pregnant.

    Can you imagine, being the victim of a rape, being shunned as an adulterer, having to go to prison for 12 years and having to raise your daughter, the product of the rape, in that prison, then facing the prospect of honor killing on her release – by her own family no less.

    Her way out? Get this: she has to marry the rapist to restore her honor and get out of prison!

    I’m thinking the horrors of fundamentalist Islam, Thinking how can anyone think there is anything alike or comparable between the Christian faith and the Islamic faith.

    Then I read this article …

    Thanks Mr PBN Denison!

    Zeta

    PS PBN = Pea Brained Numbskull


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    I am beginning to wonder if mental and/or social retardation is not a minimum requirement for graduation from an SBC seminary.

    Zeta


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    Dee and all,

    He also honored women by choosing them to discover the empty tomb and report that Jesus was no longer there. Women made the world’s most remarkable discovery.


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    As for Denison, he grossly misapplies scripture by suggesting that Sandusky’s sexual abuse and rape victims should have gone to him (as children then or adults now) for restoration. This is a way to minimize the abuse, take the profound traumatic effects of abuse out of the spotlight, and put the blame and responsibility back on the victims. It is cruel re-victimization.

    It is also absurd. First, his comments show his complete disregard for what the laws of our land require when a child (or adult) has been abused. Secondly, they demonstrate his lack of intelligence and understanding of pedophilia, child development, and the lifelong effects of childhood sexual abuse. Lastly, they show that he is a horrible bible scholar (at least in his ability to teach and apply the bible in situations like these). He has no credibility.


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    Wendy
    This whole thing is surprising to me. His supporters claim that he didn’t write that but it is his byline on the article, along with his picture. If someone changed what he wrote, why hasn’t he responded as yet? If such a think were true of something I had written, i would be writing blog posts, etc and demanding that ABP issue an apology. Something is quite strange here.


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    Denison posted this morning on the ABP website a correction and apology. http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6957/9/ He admits to an error in putting together two of his columns for publication in the ABP and erroneously including three words that included the victims of Sanduskey.


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    And the guy over at Totem to Temple (or Onward, Forward, Toward) called it “Christlam”.


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    I can’t help but wonder if there are journalistic challenges involved in this. An academic has a blog, sees a topic, thinks of the currently-most-quoted verses, and fires off a post which MIGHT not sound like what he’d usually teach in a classroom (I don’t know). More careful blog queens (or kings) might think about how these verses will sound in the context and choose verses less-quoted-today but more appropriate to the context/topic (kinda like God’s Holy Spirit leads us).


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    Denison seems like a really nice guy and seems to have a heart for people. I suspect the story he related in the article today is true and reflects who he really is. Perhaps it was a mistake in editing as he said, rather than an interpretive error.


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    Appalled, you’re absolutely right. I don’t hold Denison fully accountable. Yes, it was his bad call but a good editor should have flagged down Denison’s piece for revision rather than publishing it as it was.


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    I hadn’t read his (well done, with appropriate scriptures) correction when I made my comment about journalistic challenges. He says, “I was writing on deadline; had I checked the essay before submitting it, I would immediately have omitted those three words. Nonetheless, the mistake was mine alone.”.


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    Arce

    What do you think about the “immediate restoration” comment? I am trying to figure that out.


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    I think Denison’s case says a lot more about the laziness of Christian publishers and websites than it does about Denison himself. Anyone who’s done writing and gotten paid for it can look back and point to a few pieces of which it must be said, “Yeah, that was not my best work.” We all get stuck in our little writerly boxes and that’s why a good editor pushes back on our ideas so we rethink them. I’ve learned just how vital an editor is in my work for Mockingbird this year (shameless plug, there, I know). Plus I was a journalism student so I know how many other people are usually involved in preparing any piece for publication who SHOULD HAVE flagged down Denison’s piece before it got published.

    I’m inclined to give Denison the benefit of a doubt here because so far as I know this is a one-time case of ill-advised recycling he’s publicly apologized for. This isn’t John Piper recycling the same spiel about God sovereignly allowing calamity to happen in other places so “we” can be “gently reminded” we need to repent. This isn’t Driscoll recycling the same spiel about “adultescence and boys who can shave” or stumping for marriage as true adulthood despite a recession. This isn’t Todd Bentley’s “fresh fire” or Benny Hinn’s “annointing”.


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    W
    Well said, as usual!


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    dee, in the case of a writer who publishes something regrettable seeking immediate restoration is retracting the piece and publicly apologizing for it. Having written a few things I’ve lived to regret that’s my take on it.


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    Dee,

    On immediate restoration: I think the scripture passage relates to the offender seeking restoration and not the party taking offense, and I do not think this passage refers to serious violation of the laws of God or the laws of humans. Rather, it appears to me to be a recognition that sometimes in life we offend people in ways that create divisions but do not rise to serious sin. The passage suggests that we reflect on our recent past when coming to worship and we should seek resolution of those conflicts where we are at fault so that we can worship God with a clear conscience about those we may have offended.

    I think Denison is right about trying to restore relationships as quickly as possible in minor cases where we have offended a brother, one with whom we have an ongoing relationship. I do not think this applies to major offenses. There are gray areas in between.

    I once offended a woman who worked for me because I did not think her clothing was appropriate for her being the first person a visitor to our offices encountered. The clothing was worn and out of fashion and did not fit very well at all. I apologized. I also gave my business manager, a woman who dressed well and appropriately on a small budget, money (out of my pocket) to take the receptionist shopping to buy a week’s worth of appropriate clothing, understanding that the problem was that the receptionist did not have the finances to dress appropriately for the job. She became the most loyal and hard working person in the office.

    Workplace charges of sexual harassment range from simple miscommunication for which Matt 18 may be appropriate to attempted seduction as a price for being hired or keeping ones job, where Matt 18 is clearly not sufficient. I am not sure why Denison thinks that the Cain situation fits Matt 18, unless he believes that Cain is a bumbler and not a cad.


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    It’s still not good re. women who are sexually harassed at work, though… just shoddy and treating us as sub-important. (“Little” women; not important.)

    I’d like to suggest that this guy get a copy of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Are Women Human? and read it several times through.


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    Denison admitted a “mistake.” I don’t see where he apologized for anything.


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    Because admitting a mistake in public can’t be accepted as a form of apology or even as an admission of having said or done something wrong? What usually happens in these circles seems to be more along the line of, “I was right, really, but needed to explain that I was right in a more winsome way”.


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    Honestly, I know nothing about Denison, other than what background on him I’ve learned here. A couple of things strike me as odd – the article with the combined statements was written by Denison on November 14. Today is November 23 – 9 days later. Neither he nor the editors nor any regular readers of Denison’s pieces noticed this until today? Hmmm…???

    The other issue I find odd is his application of Matthew 18:15 to sexual harassment victims. When I was 19 and in college, I worked at a busy discount store. The manager always put me in the back of the store stocking and cleaning, so he could follow me around, relatively unnoticed, sexually harassing me. He had all the power in the relationship, so “going to my brother and showing him his fault”, would have resulted in worse problems for me – at least that’s what I believed at the time. In reality, it is often true that whistleblowers have hell to pay. It’s very scary to be sexually abused as a child AND as an adult. Applying this scripture to many sexual harassment situations just isn’t that easy.


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    “He had all the power in the relationship, so “going to my brother and showing him his fault”, would have resulted in worse problems for me – at least that’s what I believed at the time.”

    Considering Denison’s positions, past and current, he would think it normal for the one in power to be consulted first. That way, they can do damage control. This is how these guys think. It is a sin for you to go tell someone else of their bad behavior…

    Why isn’t everyone seeing this over and over?


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    The lag doesn’t surprise me at all. If anything it’s the SPEED that was surprising.

    Let’s remember, folks, that Paul had to mention the man having sex with his father’s wife to Corinth and tell them to take disciplinary measures. Then there’s Paul urging Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Then there’s Paul pulling rank as an apostle without officially pulling rank as an apostle over the case of Philemon and Onesimus. How long, let’s guess, did it take to send and receive letters in the Greco-Roman world of the 1st through 3rd centuries CE? What did it take for Peter to figure out that the Gentiles could become followers of Jesus, too, despite not being Jewish? How long before Jesus’ resurrection did it take for a church committee to recognize this?

    Why do people act surprised when it takes Christians a while to figure out that they “may” have done or said something stupid? Why do we find it mysterious that it would take them a while to figure out after days or weeks or months that maybe just part of what they said or did was dumb? We wouldn’t have most of the NT documents if Christians were ever smart or ethical enough to have worked out even rudimentary things about life together. I’m sure agnostics and atheists would have an easy time pointing this out if Christians don’t wish to concede or consider the observation. 🙂


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    I don’t know… It’s just my observation that there are a lot of folks quick on their feet in cyberspace and the blogosphere. What if Dee and Deb had written a piece like that? Would it have taken 9 days for someone to see it and realize what they were saying? 9 days for them to write a “oops we made a mistake” post? Yeh, I know we’re slow to figure out our problems, but I have a hard time believing that absolutely no one saw this or knew about it.


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    Wendy
    The real problem with this situation has to do with the seeming lack of deep concern on the part of Baptists regarding the issue of pedophilia which has plagued many Baptist churches. I am not convinced that many pastors get the heartfelt concern for the response patterns when a pedophile is discovered in churches. Often, the issue is dealt with quietly, with the pedophile being sent packing to ply his sordid trade at a new church. This is tragedy with serious implications.

    If anything, this incident should remind us that people are becoming more and more aware of the tragedy of child molestation and they are not willing to take misquoted or fractured Scripture as an excuse of poor actions on the part of church leaders. Maybe, just maybe, the tide will begin to turn.


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    Anon 3:48,

    Excellent point. I’m sure Herman Cain wishes his sexual harassment victims had come to him first. If what his accusers are alleging, I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to “go to him and show him his fault”. In many of those situations, as I mentioned before, the victim has to endure MORE victimization, if they attempt to confront the abuser or blow the whistle. I don’t believe this scripture applies to victims of sexual abuse, harassment, or exploitation, because it sets the victim up for re-victimization that hurts even worse.


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    Dee,

    “Often, the issue is dealt with quietly, with the pedophile being sent packing to ply his sordid trade at a new church.”

    Or in the case of my family and I, WE were the ones sent packing when we blew the whistle on a deacon/minister who was abusing one of our youth. The pastor and deacons immediately launched a huge cover-up, gave hush money to the single mom, and kicked us out. Long, horrible story, but I might not have found Wartburg Watch otherwise. 🙂


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    Wendy
    Join the club. Read our series on Leaving Wonderland. You can find it under categories. You might find the series interesting. You are part of a select club that has backbone and seeks the truth.


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    mj, I was shocked to see Denison follow the party line that joe paterno “followed policy” by reporting the abuse to his superiors.

    1. Paterno was the superior in influence 2. Any idiot knows to call the authorities so the experts can investigate allegations.

    How many kids could have been saved if only Paterno did the right thing.