Ministerial Sexual Abuse: High Treason in the Kingdom of God

This week, another story broke about a pastor who sexually abused a church member. That sentence seems accurate almost every week. Ministerial sexual abuse in an unfortunate constant in 2019’s headlines.

As each story that breaks, the same responses multiply. Some, understandably, see such abuse as permanently disqualifying. A man who has used the office of pastor to manipulate one under his care for sexual pleasure may never fill the office again. Others question why these reports matter—especially when the abuse took place “so long ago.” Should what a man did as a 22-year-old pastor impact his eligibility to hold the office one, two, or three decades later?

At the heart of this question are two matters: the nature of sex and the nature of the church. Continue reading “Ministerial Sexual Abuse: High Treason in the Kingdom of God”

“My Wife Became My Hero” — A Model of Biblical Manhood

“We like to think of ourselves as the main character — the heroes — of our own stories. However, in the decade we’ve been married, I have had a growing realization that finally dawned in a Michigan courtroom in January 2018. I married the hero. At the end of the day, I’m Rachael’s sidekick — and I couldn’t be any prouder to wear that title.” Continue reading ““My Wife Became My Hero” — A Model of Biblical Manhood”

The Gospel-Centered Abuser

My dear Foolsgold,

I read your last report with great interest and not a little pride. Your great-uncle Screwtape will be delighted to hear of your success. (He will, no doubt, claim responsibility for your accomplishments—though these, we know, should be credited to my account.)

A decade ago, when your patient entered “the ministry,” I feared the worst for your assignment. His charisma (as they call it), rapid growth in spirituality, and skill in both teaching the Book almost guaranteed him a large following and much success in that wretched outpost of the Enemy—the church.

You did well to encourage it and to “assist” him in these endeavors. Once a human has started down this route, it is almost impossible to reverse. There is no going back. Instead, we adjust the trajectory ever so slightly and increase the momentum. This way, by the time he has gone off course, it is impossible to slow down or stop. The damage is certain. The destruction is extreme. Continue reading “The Gospel-Centered Abuser”

Recommended: “Becoming a Church That Cares Well for the Abused”

Over the past two weeks, I completed the “Becoming a Church That Cares Well for the Abused” curriculum (and other free abuse training material available through Ministry Grid).
 
I recommend that every church leader, ministry worker, and church member complete it. Having everyone in the church view this material and understand the basics of how to address abuse will go along ways toward having a unified and helpful approach to abuse prevention, response, and care.
 
There are 12 video lessons (~20 minutes each), which are word-for-word what is in the accompanying book (available as a free PDF download).
 
Please carve out some time to benefit from this resource. It doesn’t take much time to complete. You could complete it in 4 hours—a couple evenings or a Saturday morning.
 

Thoughts on Willow Creek, Independent Third Party Investigations, and the Southern Baptist Convention

Last week Christianity Today covered the report of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) that did an independent, third-party investigation (ITI) into allegations concerning both Willow Creek Community Church and the Willow Creek Association. (Full report available here.)

I found these elements noteworthy:

Continue reading “Thoughts on Willow Creek, Independent Third Party Investigations, and the Southern Baptist Convention”