Evangelicals Make Public Statement About Child Abuse In The Church

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61 Responses

  1. Ricky Bobby says:

    I’m sure all of our Calvary Chapel pastor friends will be signing this and promoting this within their congregations, no?

  2. Michael says:

    You need to get the link up on your blog…this needs to get huge in a hurry.

  3. Ricky Bobby says:

    Roger, will do. Been slammed lately, working 7 days a week right now. Tired. But this is important.

  4. I’m all for petitions, statements, and so on.

    For clarity, though, why does signing this matter?

  5. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m glad you asked.
    First of all it serves as a rebuke to those in authority who have covered these abuses to protect the institution.
    Second, we have an opportunity here to make a loud statement that this is no longer acceptable…that the church must be different, it must be safe, it must reflect the nature of Christ.
    This could be a landmark event if we care.

  6. Jim says:

    Thanks Michael!

  7. Michael says:

    Jim,

    Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
    We need to promote this hard.
    This is a chance to make a statement for all of us.

  8. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, Jim, thanks for bringing my attention to it. It’s on the CC Abuse blog and a I signed the petition.

  9. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, unfortunately, I think you’ll see the effects of your politicking the CC pastors on here in the lack of CC Pastor signatures on that petition…though my comment may spur some to sign it just to prove me wrong.

  10. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Have posted to FB and asked others to send on to Pastors, leaders, and anyone else that they know.

    This is extremely important to do. Michael what you stated is so true: if your pastor refuses to sign, ask them why. I would add: Then figure out what you will or will not do to make your voice heard among the congregation, if they do not.

    Also, this isn’t just about child abuse. It is also about domestic violence, sexual abuse towards children and predatorial behavior by leadership and congregants. It is time we as Christian come together and leave those churches where abuse is permitted and the victim is not protected. Thanks, Micahel

    Ricky Bobby—-stranger things have happened when it comes to CC. But like you, I’m not holding my breath. But still praying.

  11. Michael says:

    RB,

    I don’t think building relationships so as to be heard is ever a bad policy.
    You have scorned them as much as I’ve reached out to them, so perhaps neither of us have much of an impact.
    In any case it’s very discouraging to see less than 200 signatures from anyone on this letter.

  12. Michael says:

    The last thing I want to do is make this about anything but the subject at hand..I want to see as many people from as many places as possible sign this statement.

  13. Michael says:

    I don’t think anyone will or should sign or not sign based on their estimation of me or RB…and it utterly counter productive to frame the matter that way.

  14. Michael says:

    uriah,

    Thank you for posting this on your Facebook…we all need to promote this and tweet and retweet as well.

  15. Crowned1 says:

    ‘Come out of her, My People’ is the only effective change for organizations who believe they are only accountable to God.

    Millions of signed petitions later…it will still be the only effective change.

  16. Crowned1 says:

    An example I used previously….

    If someone gave me a petition signed by 1 billion people that asked me to stop lusting guess what would happen? Nothing.

    However, if I sought after God (thus removing myself from the problem) then we might see some change.

    So that is the key right there…removing oneself from the problem. Which comes full circle to the ‘come out of her, My People’ verse imo.

  17. Michael says:

    Crowned1,

    Your reductionism fails to account for the biblical and historical truth that God has and does use extra-biblical means to direct and inform His people.
    You may think yourself superior to the unwashed masses below but in reality you have missed the point entirely.
    God can (and very well may) use this petition to stir the hearts of His people to seek Him and act biblically.

  18. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Crowned 1

    Have you read the petition?

    It is a start and from what I can see it is a very good start. I think we know that more needs to be done, but for now from what I can see is there our people from all over the world signing this petition. It is a beginning of what I hope is a movement and a vehicle to put people on notice that we are going educate people and let them know they do have a voice and a vote and will be protected from predators and people who are narcissist/sociopaths/psychopaths. Just how, I am certain we will come up with many ways to address this directly and indirectly.

    By the way if you have a problem with lust, I would suggest you contact Doug Weiss at Heart to Heart counseling, so that you can stop sexualizing and objectifying a person who is not yours to have in the eyes of the Lord. Be it man, woman, child, or any other type of inappropriate attachment needs you may be displacing by getting a fix in this manner.

  19. Crowned1 says:

    Michael,

    I do not find myself superior to anyone. I find ‘God’s Word’ superior to any and all petitions or awareness groups we can conjure. It was finished at the Cross. There is nothing better we can do than to point others to Christ and let Him work on them.

    You said: “God can (and very well may) use this petition to stir the hearts of His people to seek Him and act biblically.”

    Highly, highly doubtful. If God’s Word (and the Holy Spirit) is not enough to stir the heart of man to change his ways, why would a non-inspired periodical have an affect?

    Further, if it DID have an affect, that would be very telling about the state of the Body of Christ as well. We won’t listen to God, but we’ll listen to each other if we can reach a group consensus…or if it affects our pocketbooks?

    I personally think God is much more powerful than our petitions. I feel the focus may be in the wrong place. These petitions are very much about “what can we do?” as opposed to “what can HE do?”.

    Don’t get me wrong…being against child abuse is a good thing. How one goes ‘bringing about change’ is another thing entirely imo.

    “Love God”, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “Love your enemy”. What part of that is confusing? Why are we writing petitions?

  20. Michael says:

    Crowned1,

    You miss the point, again.
    God often uses extra biblical means to stir His people.
    He uses extra biblical means to lead them back to the Word.
    This may be one of those means.
    If you don’t want to participate in what may well be a Holy Spirt inspired action, thats fine.
    Discouraging others with ridiculously reductionist theology isn’t.

  21. Anne says:

    I was encouraged when I noticed that a CC pastor that I knew, who was on staff at CCCM while I was there, had signed the petition.He stated he too knew of victims, and pastors who had covered for abusers. A step in the right direction, if you ask me.

  22. Michael says:

    Anne,

    I saw that too…and was pleasantly surprised.

  23. Crowned1 says:

    Michael @ 20

    Encouraging others to rely solely on God and His Word is neither reductionist theology nor discouraging.

    My signature on a piece of paper (even if I signed the end of my Bible and wrote “I promise to follow God’s Word”) does not ‘mean’ anything.

    It is already assumed (an invisible signature on a petition, if you will) that religious leaders will not hurt children. But it still happened anyways. So my question is again, why would this physical signature affect anything?

    Hearts will only be changed by the Lord. If you want to change institutions, you have to affect their wallet.

  24. Michael says:

    Crowned1,

    This is about raising awareness and sending a clear message to leadership.
    Do nothing if you feel that nothing is possibly a tool in the hands of the Master.
    I believe God may use this, so I’m going to do everything I can to get as many people involved as possible.

  25. Anne says:

    Crowned 1- Here’s how I look at it:
    The change comes as folks are made aware of what it is happening, and that some pastors either turn a blind eye or have a lack of parameters at their churches that make it easy for abusers to abuse. And as more pressure is put on pastors to make the necessary changes to prevent abuse from happening and to stop protecting abusers in their midst, those that don’t will hopefully see their wallets affected as more and more folks vote with their feet. More importantly the cycle of leaders protecting their brand & turf rather than caring for the vulnerable, might be one step closer to being broken.

  26. Crowned1 says:

    Michael @ 24 “This is about raising awareness and sending a clear message to leadership.”

    Monetary loss speaks louder than words. You have much more power than a ‘signed petition’. Hand the organization a list of accountability checks and walk out with your offerings until implemented. Watch how fast bylaws update (or empires fall).

    In the meantime, continue to give to charity, assemble with brethren & tell others about Christ.

    “Do nothing if you feel that nothing is possibly a tool in the hands of the Master.”

    I feel the Bible is the only tool needed in this battle. I will continue to use ‘it only’, which is far from doing nothing, but also doesn’t make me better than anyone else.

    “I believe God may use this, so I’m going to do everything I can to get as many people involved as possible.”

    And that is fine, your heart is in the right place, we merely disagree about effectiveness.

  27. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I think for me it is more about protection and safety within our churches than trying to change someone who is abusing and misusing others. Therefore, in order to do this one must understand what abuse is and what it is not, then know what can and should be done to stop and to prevent it.

    As for those who offend or rather victimizes others, no one can change that person, but that does not negate our responsibility to see to it that they continue to act out in an abusive and corrupt manner within the church and Christian home.

    What gets me is these passive bystanders that will say let the Lord handle it. Hello–He has already told us not to allow such things to go on and He then tells us exactly how it ought to be dealt with. It is when we have leadership that are not held accountable themselves that also attract such individual to their churches and then play this script working their way into a trust position that then enables them to discredit the very people they prey upon, should they decide to expose them.

    Well, I for one say enough is enough and if there is a petition needs to be signed,, then that is one way of making your voice heard and to be counted among those that take a stand. How far this goes, only God can provide the vehicle and work in the hearts of people, but as for me, I believe this is my opportunity to say—-NO, to abuse and corruption in our churches.

  28. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Correction: “but that does not negate our responsibility to see to it that they DO NOT continue to act out in an abusive and corrupt manner within the church and Christian home.

  29. randallslack says:

    I believe that we need to make a clear distinction between the “professing” church and the true believers. Once we do, the true believers need to get down own our knees and beg God for real revival. Perhaps then real revival will come. God have mercy…

  30. Ricky Bobby says:

    The truth is…that the “truth” is largely what we define it as…when we filter the conflicting and contradictory and paradoxical things in the bible through our conscience.

    It has never been “right” or “righteous” to execute children with stones. It is not right or righteous to beat them with sticks and to leave bruises or smack them around or hit them or kick them or scare them to death or put them in a closet etc.

    It is not right to sexually abuse a child and it is not right for the church to handle it in house without reporting immediately to authorities.

    This is the “truth” of today even if it wasn’t the “truth” at one time in man’s history.

  31. Ricky Bobby says:

    The truth is that many of the Concubines of the Old Testament “men of the bible” like David and Solomon etc were underage sex slaves.

    The truth is that many children were beaten and even executed with stones by “God’s people” in both the Old and New Testament.

    It’s evil and it’s wrong and we need to stamp out any remaining belief that anything that nearly approaches that sort of Taliban barbarism that was practiced and even commanded in the bible isn’t done today and is called evil and wrong.

  32. Michael says:

    RB,

    This thread is not about your view of the Bible.
    I’m not going to allow an opportunity for something positive to be derailed.

  33. Shaun Sells says:

    Is anyone else having trouble opening the signed document? After I signed it I could not get the signed version to open up. Additionally each time I try to open it the number of signers jump around (both up and down) ranging from 300-600. Might just be because I am on an ipad though.

  34. Michael says:

    Shaun,

    First, thanks for signing.
    I can’t open it on an iPad either…only on my computer.
    The count is about 580 right now.

  35. Nonnie says:

    I cannot understand why any Christian would not want to sign this.

  36. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    A lot of signature coming in from all over the world, but few from California. Please send to CC’ers to see if they will endorse and stand up against domestic violence and child abuse.

  37. Michael says:

    Almost all of the familiar PhxP CC names have signed the statement.
    What we are missing from almost all traditions are the marquee names outside the original signers.
    I have some thoughts on that, but will wait a day or two…

  38. Shaun Sells says:

    To me signing is a very small thing, I could argue with some of the wording, but the main point is still valuable. The real changes have to happen in local churches. We make our volunteers sign a child abuse reporting statement that is basically the state law quoted. Essentially we tell people if they suspect abuse call the police first and the pastor second. Removes the middle man in my mind. I know of two people who have or are in jail because I reported their abuse. I know of some others I reported who I still believe were abusive, but the police couldn’t prove it, but at least they know I am watching them!

  39. Michael says:

    Shaun,

    You do an excellent job with all aspects of church governance.
    We may have our differences, but that fact is undeniable and I appreciate what you’ve done.

  40. Shaun Sells says:

    I’m glad you think so, because I feel like I am barely treading water most days. And I see our differences as very few. Have a blessed day.

  41. DavidH says:

    Signing the petition is one small thing I can do for this cause.

  42. Michael says:

    Thank you, DavidH…a lot of small things done can become a movement…

  43. Xenia says:

    Shaun said… “Essentially we tell people if they suspect abuse call the police first and the pastor second.”

    Very important. This alone can make a huge difference.

  44. Jeff Hensley says:

    Signed it.

  45. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jeff!
    Nice fish, too. 🙂

  46. Bryan Stupar says:

    Signed it & re-posted it.

    It’s a small step, yet an important one for church leaders to stand w/ the vulnerable (whoever they may be w/in their context) instead of sacrificing all to protect their stars.

    Michael, regarding #11…I can attest to the fact that “reaching out” is a far more effective (and mature) approach than “scorning”.

  47. Michael says:

    Bryan,

    Thank you!
    I’m simply stunned at the number of “leaders” who are refusing to affirm this statement…

  48. Bryan Stupar says:

    Michael,
    …You actually know of pastors who “disagree” w/ what this is affirming?
    Or, do they agree w/ it (and practice it in house) but just aren’t interested in signing it?

    I don’t mean to disagree w/ you but it’s hard for me to comprehend (and it sounds a little far fetched) how pastors/leaders could actually insist on “refusing to affirm this statement”.

    Regardless, thanks for posting this. [side note: #1 & #9 did nothing to “spur” my affirmation of this]

  49. Michael says:

    Bryan,I should have written that with more clarity…good point.
    I will admit to being exceedingly chapped at the moment…this needed to be affirmed by every man and woman of goodwill everywhere and the excuses to not do so were lame.
    I greatly appreciate those who did sign and will have choice and special words for those who didn’t.

  50. Michael,
    I disagree with you completely. I didn’t sign – I NEVER sign petitions of any kind. I didn’t sign that Manhattan thing going around a couple of years ago.

    Your methods are to induce guilt – and it won’t work with me … I have a Jewish mother. 🙂

  51. Michael says:

    This wasn’t a petition as much as a public affirmation on a vitally important issue.
    It was an opportunity for the whole Body of Christ to make a statement across traditional lines.
    It failed.

  52. Steve Wright says:

    I have a question. Who decides to change the signature goal from 10,000 down to only 1,000? Is that automatically generated by the website based on interest – or did the GRACE people make that change?

  53. So I will ask this – after signatures are attached – then what happens? Where does it go?

  54. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I’m only guessing…but it was evident early on that it would take a long time to get that many signatures, so they changed it the second day.
    I expected it to actually be able to gather the ten thousand…but I was very wrong.

  55. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I don’t think it was a matter of the document going anywhere.
    It was an exhortation to people to think about this issue and take action in their local church.
    It was also a rebuke to those in my camp who are far more interested in protecting their friends than dealing with the issue.
    Hundreds of thousands of people knew about it and examined it…and we can’t even get 1000 people to sign it.

  56. Michael says:

    I will say this…the PhxP was very well represented and that made me feel like we sometimes do more than shovel sand against the sea.

  57. PP Vet says:

    It is a terrible statement. It passive aggressively affirms the unspecified allegations. That is irresponsible.

    If it were to say, openly, “We think there is some substance to these allegations”, that would at least be honest and forthright.

    “Allegations” and “anger” are “events” that expose a “troubling reality”?

    That’s about as stupid as peat moss.

    This is the child abuse equivalent to race-baiting.

  58. Ricky Bobby says:

    Bryan, it means something to me that you signed it. It shows a willingness to buck the trend in your Group (publicly). I know it won’t bring world peace and won’t usher in utopia and a perfect world, but it’s a public statement from a public leader and does have rhetorical and political significance within the “church”…especially your Corner of “church”

  59. Ricky Bobby says:

    Shaun, thanks as well. It’s a small step, but a step. It’s better than not signing (and i know you and Stupar do more than just sign a petition, you have checks and balances, which is important as well). The public signing does have an impact as well.

  60. Ricky Bobby says:

    PP Vet, you’ve spent too much time drunk on the holy spirit with Crowder.

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