Ravi Zacharias and abuse within the church

LadyCalvinist

Puritan Board Junior
Brethren,

This is not just a another thread about Ravi Zacharias, it is about abuse within the Church. I think many of us were horrified of the sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. But some of us thought -or at least I did- that's the Catholic Church it couldn't happen here. But with Ravi Zacharias shows it has happened here. A few years ago there was a report and it was discovered that there have been a number of cases within the SBC. It has happened in many churches. I remember when Doug Phillips, at Vision Forum, confessed to having an inappropriate relationship with a woman. At the time I was so upset, but what Ravi Zacharias did makes Phillips look pale in comparison. I am sure we could all name other cases, Jean Vanier, Bill Gothard, etc.


The church as a whole needs to do a better job of dealing with sexual abuse claims. I am not saying that all abuse claims are legitimate, but there should be rules in place for dealing with these claims. If a crime was committed then the police should be called. I recall reading about a case where the church elders had the victim and the abuser hug and had the victim forgive him. The age of the victim: 9 years old.

This article is inciteful.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think one of the big issues is that Ravi didn't really attend a church and thus had no accountability. He was not reformed either. So, even if he did go to church occasionally, I don't know if he went to one that had elders. Many non-denominational churches have a senior pastor and that's it.
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
The best of men (I by no means am saying Ravi is one) are susceptible to wicked perverseness. Depravity extends unto all men fallen in Adam, it would be foolish of any of us to think it's peculiar to Rome. ARBCA is a primary example that there are wolves within our own backyard.

And this is why congregants need to know their pastors on a much more personal level than the norm today; within reason of course, it's obviously easier for smaller congregations.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Attending a church regularly is not the solution because many predators are regular attenders and use the church as a pool to fish from because many church folks are gullible. And many of the abusers are the pastors.
 

LadyCalvinist

Puritan Board Junior
Perg, that is what I am trying to get at. How do we protect people? This issue is damaging the church and I don't think much is being done about it.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Perg, that is what I am trying to get at. How do we protect people? This issue is damaging the church and I don't think much is being done about it.
When the ARBCA scandal hit, we had a PB post or two that linked Child Protection Policies for the church. These policies detailed things such as never having 1 person alone with kids, never counseling alone, and other good recommendations. Also, many church folks squash that intuitive feeling that something is "off" when it comes to pastors and elders. If something feels weird or creepy, it just might be.

A big hurdle is getting a church to report asap. Many pastors are not aware of Mandatory Reporting laws. Pastors are liable if they fail to report credible evidence of abuse. People cover up for others. And many bigger churches want to do their own investigations instead of seeking a 3rd party investigation. This is like a politician investigating himself for corruption, he's never going to be found guilty.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
When the ARBCA scandal hit, we had a PB post or two that linked Child Protection Policies for the church. These policies detailed things such as never having 1 person alone with kids, never counseling alone, and other good recommendations. Also, many church folks squash that intuitive feeling that something is "off" when it comes to pastors and elders. If something feels weird or creepy, it just might be.

A big hurdle is getting a church to report asap. Many pastors are not aware of Mandatory Reporting laws. Pastors are liable if they fail to report credible evidence of abuse. People cover up for others. And many bigger churches want to do their own investigations instead of seeking a 3rd party investigation. This is like a politician investigating himself for corruption, he's never going to be found guilty.
Some of the mandatory reporting laws are quite strict, too. I don’t remember the details, but I heard of a recent case in Indiana that found a person guilty for delaying to report by a matter of hours (same day)
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Some of the mandatory reporting laws are quite strict, too. I don’t remember the details, but I heard of a recent case in Indiana that found a person guilty for delaying to report by a matter of hours (same day)
Probably has to do with preservation of evidence in rape cases.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
MTW has done a thorough review and has put in place new policies to help with this very thing (in partnership with GRACE). As others have said, there are going to be wolves. If they would arise among Paul's own elders at Ephesus (Acts 20), the PCA, OPC or whoever you are isn't going to be the exception. The best we can do is make sure there is an organizational structure for strict accountability, a clear code of conduct, and a process in place for abuse charges. All churches and Christian ministry organizations should be reviewing what they have in place and making sure everyone is educated about what to do if you witness something or are a victim of abuse. That's the best we can do but need to be doing it.

Great article.
 
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dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
Perg, that is what I am trying to get at. How do we protect people? This issue is damaging the church and I don't think much is being done about it.

I think that pastor visits to church members would help a lot. This was, from my understanding when I read a history of the Presbyterian Church, done quite regularly in say the 17 or 1800s or so. I don't know why it seems not to happen anymore. A truly personal relationship with the pastor and elders and church members may help to bring such things to light or better yet to prevent them from happening.

Regardless of whether pastor/elder visits happen, I think the way Church government is practised by the Presbyterian Church is a must for any denomination (and the non-denominations should get together in order to do this!); that way power in the church is not collected in one body or a few, but is spread amongst all members. Issues can be brought to the attention of the church by a single member and if it is not resolved at the church level, it can be moved up to session, synod, presbytery and all the way to the general assembly (I may have gotten the order mixed up back there).
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
In some counties, making a report to CPS causes more harm than good. Many social workers are undertrained, under experienced, and overworked. What's worse is many of them have a Bachelors in Sociology from liberal universities.

Nevertheless, it is the law.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
At the church level - have good policies in place. 2 elders at visits or counselling sessions. Ministers counsel in the home with his wife present.

individually - watch and pray, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
 
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