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 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”
This post is the third (and final) post in a series examining how we respond when we’ve wronged our neighbor. The first post (I’m Sorry ≠ I Sinned) focused on the difference between expressing remorse and confessing guilt. The second post (I Sinned ≠ I Repent) examined our obligation beyond grieving and confession, our desire to restore what we destroyed. I ended the last post by noting that confessing our sin against our neighbor does not release us from the obligation to restore our neighbor. Continue reading “I Repent ≠ I Won’t Help You”
Yesterday, I posted a short meditation on the difference between saying “I’m sorry” and “I sinned.” I emphasized that expressing sorrow over an action is different than admitted a wrong. When we have done wrong, both are necessary. We should feel and express grief over the harm we have done. Likewise, we should own our wrong-doing; we should admit that what we did was actually wrong. Both are necessary, but both are not sufficient. Love calls us to repent. Acknowledging that we have sinned against our neighbor and expressing grief do not equal repentance. Continue reading “I Sinned ≠ I Repent”