“The very first part in healing is shattering the silence,”
― Erin Merryn, Living for Today: From Incest and Molestation to Fearlessness and Forgiveness link.
The least of these? Picture allegedly taken by Ligon Duncan's brother
It appears to me that certain leaders of the Neo Calvinist movement are studiously ignoring the problem of child sex abuse and child sex abuse cover-up within specific churches and groups of churches. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. In fact, many of these leaders have spoken out and said they are "against child sex abuse." Sometimes, I feel that these statements are about as meaningful as me saying that I think the greasy popcorn served at movie theaters is really bad for "us' while I buy myself the super-sized popcorn tub with extra butter.
Neo-Calvinist leaders seem to support their pastor buddies while causing pain to the alleged child sex abuse victims.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Church in Washington, released a public statement of support for Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries founder C.J. Mahaney in May 2013 that was widely criticized.
This was part of a "now we see it, now we don't" statement by T4G which also included Ligon Duncan link. In the second post , SNAP's David Clohessy excoriates certain leaders for hurting abused children by standing up for those allegedly accused of child sex abuse cover-up.
David Clohessy, national director of SNAP — the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests – said May 28 that religious leaders voicing support for embattled Pastor C.J. Mahaney, named in a lawsuit recently thrown out of a Maryland court for legal reasons, ought to be ashamed.
“It’s dreadfully hurtful to child sex-abuse victims when people in authority publicly back accused wrongdoers,” said Clohessy, one of just four abuse survivors to testify before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at their historic meeting in Dallas in 2002. “And it hinders criminal investigations, because it intimidates victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.”
Clohessy weighed in after public statements by friends of Mahaney, including Southern Baptist seminary president Albert Mohler and Washington pastor Mark Dever, vouching for the former Sovereign Grace Ministries president’s personal integrity.
“Support Rev. Mahaney if you must,” Clohessy pleaded. “But do so privately in ways that don’t further harm, depress and scare other child sex-abuse victims into keeping silent and thus helping child predators escape detection and prosecution.”
Look at these statements again. By their choices, these leaders are hurting both the abused and hindering investigations.
- "It’s dreadfully hurtful to child sex-abuse victims when people in authority publicly back accused wrongdoers,”
- "And it hinders criminal investigations, because it intimidates victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.”
A number of members of The Gospel™ Coalition (Only Calvinists need apply) have also supported Mahaney.
We hear from Justin Taylor, Don Carson, and Kevin DeYoung link.
We are not ashamed to call C. J. a friend. Our relationship with C. J. is like that with any good friend—full of laughter and sober reflection, encouragement and mutual correction. He has regularly invited—even pursued—correction, and we have given him our perspective when it is warranted. While the admission of friendship may render this entire statement tainted in the eyes of some, we hope most Christians will understand that while friends should never cover for each others' sins, neither do friends quickly accept the accusations of others when they run counter to everything they have come to see and know about their friend. We are grateful for C. J.'s friendship and his fruitful ministry of the gospel over many decades.
Three Neo-Calvinist men: Ray Ortlund Jr., Carl Trueman and Kevin DeYoung declared CJ Mahaney fit to serve as a pastor here while Neo-Calvinist Tim Challies wrote a post claiming that it wasn't helpful to him in terms of time management to learn more about this.
- I have deliberately avoided learning too much.
- 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.
Let's look again at the list of SGM supporters. What do they all have in common? They are all part of the Neo-Calvinist, culture warrior leadership.
- Al Mohler
- Mark Dever
- Kevin DeYoung
- Denny Burk
- Justin Taylor
- Don Carson
- Carl Trueman
- Ray Ortlund Jr.
- Tim Challies
Some in The Gospel™ Coalition excoriated Joe Paterno, who was not on trial, prior to the Sandusky trial.(Update 5/2) Paterno was NOT a Neo-Calvinist as far as I can tell. Too bad for him…
Collin Hansen wrote a tough article on Joe Paterno before he was convicted link. Why do they not see themselves in this critique?
The abuse allegedly continued until someone outside the cloistered community finally sounded the alarm.
But child molesters and those who harbor them will not find forgiveness in this culture.
Evangelicals are getting quite a reputation for child sex abuse cover-up.
In a Christian Century article, Boz Tchividjian raised the ire of certain evangelicals when he said evangelicals are as bad as the Catholic church in terms of cover-up.
“Protestants can be very arrogant when pointing to Catholics,” Boz Tchividjian, executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), told journalists attending the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Austin, Texas.
“The Protestant culture is defined by independence,” Tchividjian said in comments reported September 26 by Religion News Service.
Evangelicals often frown upon transparency and accountability, he said, as many Protestants rely on scripture more than religious leaders, compared to Catholics. Abusers condemn gossip in their efforts to keep people from reporting abuse, he said. Victims are also told to protect the reputation of Jesus.
Tchividjian said too many Protestant institutions have sacrificed souls in order to protect their institutions. “We’ve got the Gospels backwards,” he said.
In the same article, David Clohessy of SNAP said:
David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said it’s tough to compare denominations’ handling of child sex crimes and cover-ups, since “virtually all of them tend to be secretive.”
Our good friend, Amy Smith also commented in the same article:
“It is the light of truth and knowledge that is our greatest tool to protect kids,” Smith said. “Silence and secrecy only help child predators. It is past time for evangelicals to open their eyes to see the evil within their midst.”
The recent ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) Leadership (aka Sex) Summit discussed child sex abuse, right? Wrong.
The ERLC is headed by Russell Moore who, according to Wikipedia,
He previously served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, as Dean of the School of Theology, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration, and as Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics.
Russell Moore is quite close to Al Mohler and a number of others mentioned above. One could say that he is a member of the Calvinist tribe within the SBC.The Associated Baptist Press published Advocate says something missing at Baptist sex summit.
Amy Smith, a lifelong Southern Baptist who works with Catholics and people from other denominations in an advocacy organization called the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, found the subject “noticeably absent” among topics being covered in the April 21-23 “leadership summit” sponsored by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“How can a summit on ‘The Gospel and Human Sexuality’ not include a topic on the pervasive, devastating, destructive issue of sexual abuse?” Smith asked April 22. “Sexual abuse ravages the lives and souls of people that we hope that churches would be trying to minister to, yet the ERLC doesn’t devote a session, or even a breakout session or panel, to cover how pastors and churches should properly respond to abuse allegations to pursue justice, heal the wounded and protect kids in their midst.”
Did the upcoming Nate Morales trial have something to do with the silence?
So, what did they discuss at this "comprehensive" sex summit? Homosexuality and Biblical™manhood and womanhood featured prominently in the discussion. Why not child sex abuse? That would seem like something biblical™ men and women might be interested in. Could it be the upcoming Nate Morales trial might prove to be awkward for their good friends at Sovereign Grace Ministries link? Do they realize that CJ Mahaney's brother in law, Grant Layman has been subpoenaed link?
For those of you unfamiliar with the theology of Sovereign Grace Ministries, SGM has been closely aligned with the Neo-Calvinist movement, even giving money to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (home of Al Mohler, Russell Moore, Denny Burk and many other Neo-Calvinists).
Greg Belser's appointment to the ERLC "leadership council" sends a signal that child sex abuse is not a priority.
Belser's church did not report a child sex abuser to the police and allowed him to confess to his church. That taped confession caused the police to step in. In the ABP article
Greg Belser, pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Miss., agreed with other members of a panel at the ERLC summit discussing “The Gospel and Homosexuality” that the time has come for pastors to get rid of “redneck theology”
Belser, a member of a newly formed “leadership council” named by new ERLC head Russell Moore, attracted media attention on a Sunday morning in 2011 when he turned his pulpit over to a longtime church staff member named John Langworthy.
Langworthy, who had recently resigned after 22 years as associate pastor of music and ministries, confessed to the congregation “sexual indiscretions with younger males” that occurred in the 1980s.
The confession, captured on video posted on the church website, prompted a police investigation. That led to Langworthy’s January 2013 conviction on five felony counts of gratification of lust
The response of Phillip Gunn and Morrison Heights to their pedophile incident bodes poorly for the future reporting child sex abuse within certain groups link. Also, Al Mohler and Russell Moore are staunch advocates for Gunn who has been appointed as chairman of the board for SBTS link.
Bob Allen quotes Amy Smith of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), who sums it up quite well:
“It is very troubling that Philip Gunn as the legal representative for Morrison Heights Baptist Church is trying to keep information from Hinds County prosecutors about a recently arrested and indicted child molester on whose behalf Gunn attempted to ‘discuss a resolution’ with me last May."
“It certainly seems that Mr. Gunn has some explaining to do about why he, as an elder and attorney, participated in an internal church investigation into child sex crimes without going to the police. It raises the question of what he and the church leadership are trying to hide that could help effectively prosecute a confessed child molester.”
Then, we have pastors who claim that the child who has been abused must deal with his/her sin in the matter!
Tim Bayly appears to believe that children who are molested can be sinners in that they come to enjoy it. Yes, that's right.
If you've spent time counseling victims of child sexual abuse, you know that often you have to help the victim with his or her own guilt. Some of these children became so acclimated to the abuse that they remember how they looked forward to the abuse, and even enjoyed it. Are we so bound up in the politically charged climate of our culture that we have no uniquely Christian place from which to minister to these souls?
Are we so intimidated by our culture that we refuse to help victims experience the love and forgiveness of God for their own sin? Must we allow the pagan mantra that one must never "blame the victim" cause us to deny victims' moral agency that is so integral to their own grief and pain? Is our spiritual care for victims of molestation so tone-deaf that we can't recognize and communicate the distinction between saying a child "asked for it" and hearing an adult survivor's confession that he "came to anticipate and enjoy it?" Is not this too a part of the evil done to the victim by the child corruptor? Regularly, I've counselled souls whose own sexual sin was predated by the sexual sin of others against them, usually during their childhood. Is this any surprise and must it be responded to by pastoral obtuseness or denial of these victims' own guilt?
Just in case that you think this "blame the victim" is an isolated occurrence, here is a true story involving Deb and me. At a church in our area, a pedophile was discovered and went to jail. There were some concerns about how this incident was handled. A young teen boy had reported some unwanted behavior by this youth leader which was subsequently ignored. When a group of us pressed the issue, an elder visited this young teen.
Didn't you know this was wrong? Why didn't you report it?
This elder represents a view in some Reformed circles which hinges on total depravity. The"sinful" child victim is equally to blame. He should have done something. Maybe he even liked it. This shows a profound lack of understanding and compassion for those who have been abused by those who are perceived to be authority figures by children. We preach authority and then blame children when they obey authority. How deeply disturbing and sick is that?
Will the next ERLC summit in October deal with child sex abuse? Need you ask? Link
It's about homosexuality, once again…
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced today a new national conference addressing “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” to be held at the iconic Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., October 27-29, 2014.
The Real Gospel: Boz Tchividjian and bikers who get it when gospel™ leaders do not.
You do know that Boz is not invited to these sex summits-don't you? Yet his group actually cares for the abused children: GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Setting link.) It is quite telling that ERLC has not invited Boz Tchividjian to their sex summits. It appears the issue of homosexuality far outweighs the concern for kids who are being abused in churches around the world.
At a recent conference, given by GRACE, BACA was introduced. Did you know that when pedophiles go to court, certain pastors will go to court and sit on the side of the pedophile? What signal does that send the victim?
In fact, what signal does the following picture send victims? Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Thabiti Anyabwile, John Piper and Kevin DeYoung sitting with CJ Mahaney, front and center, at the recent T4G conference. Look hard. Do any of you see any victims of child sex abuse up there? Is this a picture of the Gospel in action or the gospel™? Imagine what goes through the minds of the alleged victims of SGM's alleged child sex abuse cover up? What about their pain? Always remember this picture because it speaks volumes about who gets the love and attention of the Calvinsta leaders.
BACA presents a far different picture of the Gospel in action. BACA stands for Bikers Against Child Abuse link. Here is what they say about themselves.
Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.
I wonder, does Al Mohler or Kevin DeYoung's church show concern for abuse victims like this group?
Our Court Appearances
We also attend court with our wounded friends. The sole purpose for our physical presence is to assist the child in being less intimidated and frightened, and subsequently give an accurate testimony regarding his/her abuse. If the child requests our presence in the courtroom, the parent or guardian for the child must petition the child’s attorney, who then will intercede on behalf of the child to the presiding Judge. Absolutely no physical confrontation of the perpetrator will be tolerated by BACA, and anyone acting in such a manner will be acting outside of the scope of BACA and will be held completely and solely accountable for his/her actions. When possible, the two bikers assigned to the child as his/her primary contacts should be in attendance.
I wonder if John Piper or Russell Moore's church express the following concerns?
I am a member of Bikers Against Child Abuse. The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I wont look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past has prepared me, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I dont have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by the faith in my works, and lean on the strength of my brothers and sisters. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with power.
My fate is set, my gait is fast, my goal is the ultimate safety of children. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are tried and true, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I wont give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children. I must go until I drop, ride until I give out, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, for He will see my BACA backpatch and know that I am one of His. I am a member of Bikers Against Child Abuse, and this is my creed.
I wonder who is truly showing the Gospel and dealing with the least of these?
What BACA does…I wonder if any of the men mentioned in this post have ever shed tears like these bikers.
See BACA go to court and sit on the side of the child! See how the "good" church members sit on the side of the church deacon predator.
Lydia's Corner: Ezekiel 23:1-49 Hebrews 10:18-39 Psalm 109:1-31 Proverbs 27:13