“Righteous” reputations of churches that don’t care

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Dark & velvet sky - courtesy of Ani-Bee via Flickr

Dark & velvet sky - courtesy of Ani-Bee via Flickr

Earlier this week, the Dallas Observer published a cover story about a former minister who was recently convicted of sexually abusing children in Mississippi. According to the article, prior to this offender getting caught for these crimes, he served as a youth minister in a Dallas area megachurch. The story reports that while serving in that position, a minor who had been part of the youth group stepped forward and disclosed to another pastor on staff that this individual had sexually abused him. The article reported that instead of reporting the youth minister to the police, the megachurch allowed him to leave town where he eventually found employment at another church. Not only did the church fail to report the offense and warn others about this offender, but it made no effort to find out if there were others who may have also been victimized.

Why do so many churches fail to do the right thing when they learn that one of their own has been accused of sexual abuse? All too often it’s because the victimized are repeatedly overshadowed by the need to protect a “righteous” reputation.  I’m afraid it’s a rationale embraced by so many church leaders because it’s convenient and sounds so “godly”. Here is an example of this distorted thought process:

The reputation of the church will be damaged when the public learns that it employed an alleged child molester -> a church whose reputation is damaged will lose members -> a church that loses members is a church that loses income -> a church that loses income is a church that will be required to tighten it’s budget, including reducing salaries and laying off staff -> a dwindling church is a church that has less relevance in the community -> a church that has less relevance in the community is a church that is failing to impact the world for Jesus.

Tragically, this type of response to the evils of abuse destroys lives, emboldens offenders, and produces churches that are rotting at the core. There’s nothing “righteous” about it.

What is the right thing to do when a church learns that one of its own has been accused of victimizing a child? First and foremost, it must immediately turn its focus and care away from institutional reputation and towards the victimized and the vulnerable.   Though there are multitudes of ways this can be done, let me suggest three basic first steps for a church that cares:

  1. Caring for the victim: A church that cares will encourage and assist the victim to immediately report the crime to the police, regardless of the consequences such a report will have upon the church’s reputation. A church that cares will immediately remove the alleged offender from the church staff and prohibit him/her from being on the church premises. A victim should never have to fear encountering this offender in the place that should be the safest. A church that cares will work tirelessly to connect the victim and his/her family with qualified and professional assistance and provide the necessary financial resources for such assistance…with no strings attached.

    Dark & velvet sky - courtesy of Ani-Bee via Flickr

    Dark & velvet sky – courtesy of Ani-Bee via Flickr

  1. Caring for other potential victims: A church that cares will inform its members of the allegations knowing that sexual offenders often have many victims. It will also encourage them to immediately report any suspected abuse to the police. A church that cares will not limit its efforts to only current members. It will reach out to those who previously attended the church and had interactions with the perpetrator and may have been targeted for abuse. A church that cares will not sleep until each and every person victimized by the offender has been found. A church that cares will offer to provide any newly discovered victims the resources to receive any needed professional assistance.
  1. Caring for other survivors within the church: A church that cares will work to understand the traumatizing impact sexual abuse disclosures have upon other abuse survivors within the church, some whom have never told anyone about their prior abuse. A church that cares will help to facilitate the development of a survivor support network and work to assist these survivors obtain professional assistance.

How would things be different if more churches cared by encouraging and assisting victims to report these crimes to the police? How would things be different if more churches cared by informing their congregations about the allegations made against tone of their own, knowing that there may be other victims? How would things be different if more churches cared by making efforts to locate and notify former families of the church about an alleged offender who had access to their children? How would things be different if more churches cared by reaching out to other survivors in their congregations who are struggling after hearing about an allegation of sexual abuse? How would things be different if more churches simply cared?

Though I don’t know the answer to all of these difficult and painful questions, I do know that a caring church reflects Jesus by treasuring, protecting, and empowering the victimized and the vulnerable.

 

 

  • The problem seems to be really simple but its not simple to the church or its congregation. Paul talked to churches that had to deal with this in the bible. One of the solutions is have a sermon on carnal man verses spiritual man. Do you know if your church is a group of spiritually minded? I am a sex offender myself but I would rather call myself an offender but it is still the carnal mind. Now the renewing of the mind is a bit different and a better approach as Jesus would not want one of us to fall. Sure one can tell police and have them involved but as a church body one has to deal with all issues. Lets give one an example to think about: in the bible they brought a woman caught in adultery to him and they said in the law they were to stone her to death, they ask Jesus what he said, and HIS reply was those that look at a woman to lust in there hear have already committed adultery.
    So what should one do in modern times like today. First take them away from that activity that caused him to sin. Second have him speak to all in the church and admit his sin. We all have sins of one nature or another even in the church, but to throw him to a den of lions would be a bit out of Christian character. Now if reporting to police are the last measures and one can’t reconcile differences than that would really have to take pray. Does one betray a brother? Are we not all accountable to each other in some way mean’s and fashion or should we say ” Am I thy brothers keeper”.

  • Carmon Friedrich

    James, I hope Boz takes down your comment when he sees it, but WHAT in the world do you think you are doing rebuking him for encouraging people to protect the children who have and who could be victims of sexual abusers like you?? If you were really repentant, you would accept every consequence of your heinous sin and be willing to spend the rest of your life paying for it instead of whining, “We all have sins of one nature or another.”

    Do you have any idea of the long-term consequences of what you did to the children you molested? You need to stay far away from ALL children for the rest of your life, not stand up in a church making excuses. Jesus did forgive the woman caught in adultery (who WAS repentant), but he also said that anyone who harms a child, it would be better to have a millstone hung around his neck and throw him into the ocean.

    Stop making excuses and stay away from little ones.

  • This “church reputation-loss of people-loss of money….” mechanism is sadly common. Thank you for pointing it out. I personally have had church members – particularly the ones who had ensconced themselves as “pillars” shout angry epitaphs at me because I exposed evil in our church. One of their first cries was “this church is known in the community as a fine, family church! Now what are all the people going to be saying about us!” Of course the thing was only a facade. There really had been very little that was “fine” or “family” about it – at least in God’s sight. That was over 20 years ago. Today our church is much smaller. Our income is very much smaller. But the facade is gone. Christ reigns.

  • James Lyda

    I think the issue is mainly churches trying to have a reputation of “Holy”. We are a group of sinners that meet together that strive to be closer to Jesus as well as imitate Him. Did he judge people or did he actively hang out with them??

    TL;DR: Churches need to stop being ‘self-righteous’, and open the sin doors, and confess everything to the PUBLIC! Then, and ONLY then, will we see people flocking in.

  • Judge not that ye be judged and I do enjoy your advice. I might as well not go to church the rest of my life if that is the case. I wonder if Jesus really ate with sinners or if those offenders actually worshipped with him in the tabernacles?
    I wonder how Jesus would treat them as compared to people in the churches today or if he would give a better solution. I wonder when you judge do you judge righteously or from the outside or the inside. Did not Paul tell us how to handle things like that or should I read my bible some more.
    Do you not know we all have sin’s of the flesh and we sin daily in thought and deed. Are we true Christians or are we still striving or running for the race.
    God is love and his grace is sufficient for us. He loved you in the good times and the bad times.
    Now to answer your question. First you say something about sexual abuse. I never said anything about sexual abuse and all I said is I’m an offender and on the registry or sex registry…was there really any victim involved in my situation, well you seem to think so, but the fact of the matter there wasn’t. Now about the millstone, Jesus was giving an example, that had nothing to do with forgiveness, it was an example given to the crowd when he was giving his message. And sure one can rebuke others as that seems to be a religious defense mechanism but where does forgiveness come in. See forgiveness is one of the keys to the kingdom.
    I also feel you did not read my comment thoroughly. Authority figures have to take measures in there own hands and if that doesn’t work than maybe the church has to go out and have matters taken up by the courts. Does it not say in the bible dare take a brother to court? Now I know this is a tough issue for everybody but are we all busybodies in church today. Do we know that person setting beside us in church what his or her past was?
    Should we bring these matters in front of the church congregation . Yes we should or should we reconcile as I explained above. The key is to show your love… don’t you know love covers a multitude of sin……or is that only for those without sin…..we all learn even I had to learn.

  • Brother Jeff I can see your point about reputation and the churches position but remember God owns the cattle of a thousand fields and as far as reputation. Well we know God is no respecter of person. Nothing wrong with a small church that preaches the true word of Gods’ power and his redemption plan. If your wanting to grow have your congregation invite others to church or have a church drive and than be patient. All things are possible with God and I don’t have to tell you that.
    Now I have just a week ago that I can attend church, most offenders can’t in some states, and its a shame. Our state you have to have a chaperone. I looked at my probation officer and said a chaperone. … while isn’t God my chaperone… and he said abide by the rules so I didn’t question him. Here’s the thing. People always want to question, even in churches about this person and that person……. maybe he or she was acting in an inappropriate manner or something while it may be a youth pastor or choir director or what the situation was such as this older man was kissing all the ladies on the cheek at church each time he went to church and that may have been inappropriate behavior and someone should call him down on it but physical abuse is another matter and it should also be called to one’s attention. Weather one feels like he or she should confess it in church that’s up to one’s conscious and if its bothering him that much than he should confess. Don’t we confess to God in pray. What’s the difference if we confess to a congregation. See the Christian needs to be strong, bold, and positive and a lot of church leaders are not.
    If Billy Graham wasn’t strong bold, and positive where would his evangelism have been. My grandmother always liked him and I like to listen to his older preaching’s from back in the late 50’s and early 60’s he was good and he really is a good servant of the lord. So you preach a few good fire and brimstone sermon’s. Nothing wrong with stirring up the word of the Lord.

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  • Jeff Crippen

    James Townsend – You said “Our state you have to have a chaperone. I looked at my probation officer and said a chaperone. … while isn’t God my chaperone… and he said abide by the rules so I didn’t question him. Here’s the thing. People always want to question, even in churches about this person and that person…”.

    These are not the words of a truly repentant man.

  • That’s between me and Jesus. To stay on topic and still be of good cheer I still have to say that there is nothing wrong with letting a church congregation know that someone touched this or someone touched that or there was an affair with the church secretary. To say “isn’t God my chaperone” than who wakes you up of a morning. God is there with us in the good times and the bad times. Do you not think after we are baptized and ask God to come into our heart we don’t still have free will. Even Paul was be twixed. so what more should I say. Learn to love and grow one’s church the best one can or strive to enter the straight gate or study to show thyself approved. and I wonder about that approved of man or God. If I am wrong than I’m wrong and I need correction.

  • Jen

    Unfortunately, very few child predators are ever convicted and churches are hesitant to restrict unless a conviction has been obtained (only happens in less than 10% of the cases). I spoke out against a man that showed PREDATORY interest in my 2-3 year old daughter (met almost ALL of the criteria listed about “grooming”), found out that he had already been warned to stay away from another little girl, yet the church is currently unwilling to restrict this man’s access to the children’s program because that “would be the same as calling him a pedophile.” I am 100% positive that this man would sexually abuse if given the opportunity, and other parents were so concerned about him that a new child security protocol was put into place (inadequate in many ways). I asked for help from the pastorship, but was vilified instead for trying to ruin this man’s reputation. I now have a greater understanding of what a young victim would have to go to when reporting a sexual predator/abuse, and it greatly disturbs me. All has been hidden, and I’ve been warned not to share information with other church members. It is ugly. Now I wonder how many other times this has happened. This seems to be normal.

  • Chaplain Martin

    James Townsend,
    “Now I have just a week ago that I can attend church, most offenders can’t in some states, and its a shame. Our state you have to have a chaperone. I looked at my probation officer and said a chaperone. … while isn’t God my chaperone… and he said abide by the rules so I didn’t question him.”

    James you are blowing smoke. Your words are not so unlike some of the prison inmates in the sex offender groups which I led in a state prison. “Poor me” attitude. IF YOU ARE A SEXUAL OFFENDER, Admit your sexual obsession at least to yourself,, admit that you should not only not be around the person you damaged, but any similar person in age and sex. Yes, God is your chaperone that’s why He sent you a probation officer that is difficult to con. I sincerely hope that any church you do attend will have children protection policy in place and enforce it.

    You know you can go to church and have a smorgasbord of would be victims from which to pick. It would be the same if you “volunteered” to work with boys and girls club or with youth.

    Your hope find someone you can’t blow smoke up to watch your behavior, for the temptation and even obsession will always be there.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Jen,
    I hope you got on the internet and looked up the site for child sexual offenders in your state. Go to the GRACE website, if you haven’t all ready done so. The can be very helpful. Any class or nursery in the church should/must have at least one man and one women not related working there.

  • Chaplain Martin

    I’ll make one more comment. IF YOU HAVE SERIOUS SUSPICIONS THAT A CHURCH MEMBER OR STAFF MEMBER COULD BE ABUSING UNDERAGE PERSONS CONTACT THE FAMILY AND CHILDREN SERVICES IN YOUR AREA.
    Also it is a good idea to talk with the police or sheriffs office person who handles child abuse/sexual investigations. They are usually happy to come speak to a weekday meeting at churches to give a informative talk on child abuse.
    I don’t understand why a anyone would just stop at reporting suspicions to the church.

  • Sister Jen. Before I got my permission to attend church. The internet and watching video sermon’s and reading the bible where my best options for getting back into the word of the Lord again. Sure I had stumbled a lot in life and my brush with the registry was a crushing blow to me. Now we all make mistakes in life weather your in a nice church or not there is no difference except one and that is how God can use the bad experience in you and have it turn out right.
    If I didn’t have some remnant of God in my life I would of just gave in and said I’m a sinner and let it go at that, as some do that are on the registry. Am I ashamed of myself, Yes I’m ashamed of myself.
    Each experience we go thru we have trails and tribulations and even the churches go thru experiences. One good verse that really helped me out was 1 Cor.10:13 and if you look up that passage I’m sure you will be refreshed.
    As for your situation with church members just get the person over to the side and confront him and tell him about your concern. I’m sure if he is worth any of his salt he will thank you as that’s what Christians should do.
    Tell him his faults, and tell him your a bit scared of this and his actions around your child. Be geared up to instruct him in Mat.18:15-17 but if he doesn’t hear you take two or three witness that every word can be established. James 5:20 tells us: Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
    Now come on people these questions are getting tough and I’m just a babe in Christ and I don’t know all the answers but the bible gives you the answers.
    If we don’t use the bible principals in situations in carnal situations how are we gone to use it in a spiritual situation. Even Paul had a thorn in the flesh, and be gentle as a dove and not quick to anger. You just might be helping him more than he realizes.

  • Chaplain, I wonder who keep me out of prison. Was it man or God. So let God be true and every man a lair. I hate to use those strong words but sometimes it is necessary. Now sure you are right that we should report everything to secular authorities and let them toss loved one’s in jail or prison.
    A church that has a good foundation is a loving church and would welcome even murderers. Is the sex offender no better. Now while churches all over the USA are having to deal with this issue wouldn’t they rather take God’s examples of how to deal with this instead f man’s issue.
    Who knows the thoughts of man except the spirit that is in him. Does not God use the foolish things of this world to compound the wise and the weak things of this world to compound the mighty.
    The whole point of these comments and exercises is to gain knowledge and the who point of God is love and love covers a multitude of sins. and I will defend the sex offender issues because I have learned to let God fight my battles. We all have to take a stance for something and I think God is a greater stance than your worldly wisdom.

  • After looking to all my comments and some things I shared even the Chaplain’s comment I have to agree with you all that I am just blowing smoke and I have to admit my wrong.
    I just wonder if anyone has admitted there wrong but it doesn’t make any difference I am still on the registry and I suppose one can’t change a leaper’s spots. I guess comments are not the best when everybody has different view’s about offenders in church. I just hope those in the churches don’t judge a book by its cover until they open the book and know the truth. Remember we do not wrestle with flesh and blood but principals and principalities of this dark world and we have to know how to stand up to those principals, in the way God instructs one.

  • Dianne Couts

    I agree with Boz’s formula used by churches not to report abuse because it includes the loss of revenue for the church which leads to loss of the church’s impact for Christ. Churches who believe that winning souls for Christ is the only legitimate goal of the church will sacrifice children and cover up criminal behavior arguing that issues such as child abuse are not worthy of their time, energy and resources compared to saving souls from hell.

  • They say the devil is the author of confusion and we all could just as well be talking about women being pastors of a church which I’m sure is a topic in churches today around the country but still the issue stands.
    I do not believe in cover ups and God doesn’t believe in Cover ups either but its what how God wants us to believe. We can believe man or God and I would much rather put my money on God if that’s the issue.
    The church is there for spiritual enlightenment, to assemble thyself together and worship the best they know how. To follow the rules of the guidebook of the bible to the best of our ability and yet to love thy neighbor as thyself. Even Billy Graham said in one of his sermon’s when back in 1957 he said :
    For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe
    Now I have to walk in my shoes daily for my little mistake but that makes me no better than the other person.
    Now Boz is right in some respects but there are two side’s to every coin. You can take Gods way or Man’s way and all of it depends on how ones’ conviction is.
    The main thing is to accept: open up your hearts… Tell the brother in church there faults……sure there have been many youth teachers and people in the church that I’m sure that would have wished that someone would come to there aid but it was too late…… did the church reach out to them, we might not even know the whole story but God knows and He wants to know how that church is going to handle it also or any crisis without losing there revenue or reputation or some other scandal.
    The main thing is to be truthful and trust, everybody has a responsible at church. I use to hate to go to church where no one greeted you or it was too cold or clammy or I felt like I didn’t fit in…..What do you think the sex offender feels and how would one handle it if one was tending to your children and you suspected it…. you would tell them up front. One can always put them in another position in church or just have them be a part of just the congregation.
    One should never get police involved unless its the last resort and before that I would just tell them just to leave the church. Sometimes we have to just kick the dust off of our shoes’. but its more better to help save a soul than to lose one. Remember God does the Saving we are all just servants of God to minister to others.

  • I wanted to mention one last thing before I leave life is a journey and there are two paths in life. We can take the right path or the wrong path and we all learn from each lessons from each path we choice but thank God we do have a choice.
    Now God loves a sex offender just as much as he loves any other sinner. And yes we should call out the offender if one is in your church or you suspect it or you have some feelings that its not proper. Are we not suppose to humble ourselves? Church people have made mistakes just as much as those without the church. We are all accountable for our actions in church and in other walks of life. We are there to help the brother in his spiritual life and to support one that falls. Temptation hits everybody in ever walk of life but love can shine thru.
    Here’s something you all can enjoy and reflect on that might have some comfort and add meaning to cheer you up with this issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQB7GlrOuXM God Bless You.

  • Chaplain Martin

    James Townsend,
    “We all have to take a stance for something and I think God is a greater stance than your worldly wisdom.”

    My “worldly wisdom” comes from reality. Confessing pedophiles have told me about their strong addiction to their behavior. Maybe you have not reached the level of pedophile, but experience has shown that when a person is finally caught he/she has all ready sexually abuse many, many children. I did not mention that I have also counseled with many adults who where violated, sexually abused as children. The abuse took away their childhood.

    Now if you really want to take part in church worship, accept the chaperone. Inform the leaders of the church of why you are on probation and don’t minimize it. Do everything you do openly. Refer them to the web site, GRACE so they can know how to help you.

    I would like to believe you, but when you write you are telling people not to turn to the authorities, who have experience and training to deal with child sexual abuse, you are proving my point.

  • Talk about stirring up the word of the Lord with an issue like this. We all have trails and tribulations. I guess one shouldn’t stir up a hornets’ nest about the sex abuser or offender and how churches should handle it in church. Some say the Chaplains right, some say others on here with there comments are right, some say I am right, but the bottom light is let God be true and let him guide you in this situation about calling out sexual abuse in the church or the sex offender and church attendance.
    While there are many different stances one can take even as the chaplain mentioned “worldly wisdom” correcting, I still have to disagree in some respect.
    Authority comes from God and that’s the true authority. Yes roman’s tells us to submit ourselves to governing authorities for they are the ministers of good and not evil. Now is sexual abuse evil, sure it is but to what extent is that case evil, how does it or has it disrupted the Church.
    How has it disrupted the individuals life in church, his motor skills, his thinking, or his weakness.
    We as Christians are suppose to build up people’s lives and not to tear them down. You know we worship God in Spirit and truth and everybody has a spirit, some strong and some weaker. We all have sins’ of the flesh but we can call out thy brother about it, without getting authorities involved. Getting thy house in order is great, but if one can’t get there house in order, how is one gone to get the house of ill repute in order. ( is that worldly wisdom or spiritual wisdom).
    If that is the last resort for the reprobate mind, than by all mean’s bid them good bye. See the conscience convicts us but God is the answer to all problems in life. Look around us and you can see how the “worldly wisdom” is now. Bottom line if the brother is weak in the faith, restore him. Tell him his faults, that person has his own demon’s to work out. Galatians 6:1 gives you a pretty good example and there are many more.
    Sometimes I don’t know if I am right in my walk in the spirit so we all die daily. I know dealing with sexual immorality is not an easy subject to talk about but, God’s principals are right there to tell you how to deal with it. Sure the easy way is to tell authorities and have them deal with it, lock them up or whatever but than were is the compassion where is the love. If that person or persons you accuse have any Christian salt than they will thank you for reaching out to them.

  • Sherry LeFils

    James Townsend,
    I am very disturbed by your comments. I feel that I can comment back to you as I am about to based off of the fact that I WAS a probation officer with sex offenders for over 10 years. I actually helped established a chaperone program within the church settings in a large metropolitan area of Texas (not sure what state you are in). Yes, the need for a chaperone is to protect the children in the church. Yes, all authority in that church absolutely needs to know all details of the offense in which the sexual offender committed. This is to protect everyone involved: the church, the children or youth, any other type of victim AND, believe it or not, the offender. If you are truly accepting the behaviors of your offense, then you would have absolutely no problem doing this. Offenders who are high risk of repeating are the ones that had a hard time with this. Loving and growing one’s church does not mean putting people at risk….and anyone who has offended someone sexually is always a threat….any offender who is truly repentant and understands his behavior will agree with me. ( I know this because i have seen it all in regards to offenses, denial, repentance, and risk levels). If you want a biblical response to offenders in church, then look at it this way. If you have committed an offense, that does not mean that Jesus has refused you or condemns you , but it DOES mean that there are consequences for your actions, just as David (the only person that God talks about as a “man after God’s own heart) dealt with consequences of behaviors, especially sexual offenses.
    You can use the excuse and justification that God is your chaperon all you want to, but in reality, as you said above, you have free will. It is because of that free will, that the churches must protect the children. Having a physical person chaperoning you the entire time you are at church should not be an issue for you if your real purpose for being in the church is to spend time with your heavenly Father, listening to the pastor, and participating any rituals of the church. If your reason for attending the church is to be unsupervised at all times, relying on “God is my chaperon” while placing yourself in positions of high risk,that is not smart on any level.
    ON a side note: confessing to a congregation is actually biblical, and shows that you are lowering your risk as an offender by placing yourself under the authority of the church. A lot of your statement above is rambling and does not make any sense, but I just want to make it clear, that any offender who chooses to attend church where children or other victims will be present, should be completely honest, transparent, under physical human chaperoning, and all of those in authority should be make aware of the full offense and restrictions placed upon that offender. There really is no other option. It is a consequence of a behavior that the offender chose to commit. Simple.

  • Sherry LeFils

    Jen,
    I am sorry that you are going through this. If you feel that your child is unsafe and the authority of the church is not responding in a manner that you feel is necessary, then I would consider looking at other churches. There are a lot of churches that do have fantastic policies in place for offenders and those who work with their children. If you chose to stay at this church, then keep trying to push the issue and get others involved. Most churches like this will not respond until an offense takes place, unfortunately, and then a large portion will do what we are seeing before, and sweep it under the rug to avoid public scrutiny and media attention. Please contact me if you feel you need any further help with this.

  • Sherry LeFils

    Please remember this, James. The more transparent and open you are, the more people are willing to work with you.

  • Sherry LeFils

    God can heal you. God can forgive your sins. God can restore. I have no problem with that. But….God also, continuously throughout the Bible, allows consequences for behaviors. Everything that you are stating, on all of these posts that you are posting, is defying that. You can personally be restored and still abide and live within the consequences that have been placed on you due to a choice that was made to offend a person. I am not sure exactly what your point is on all of these things? Are you stating that you should not have any consequences or be under an authority in a church setting due to God restoring you??? God said to love, and I do not disagree with that, but He also said that anyone who harms a child should have a millstone placed around his neck and dropped into the deepest ocean. Again, consequences of behaviors. If you are truly repentant and understand the risk levels, then you would understand why these consequences are put into place and would actually agree with them and urge others to abide in them also. I have seen it. I have seen true repentance and transformation and the ability to lower ones risk level. But not without everyone knowing.

  • Sherry LeFils

    One should ALWAYS get the police involved and NEVER tell them to just leave the church. Wow! That was absolutely the worst advice I have ever seen! I am now beginning to be concerned about how you are ministering to others. What church did you say you belong to ???

  • Reputations of churches that don’t care You know Boz has given a topic that actually should be confronted by all churches today but it all boils down to sexual immorality. I was going to spare you all from this but it seems everybody is going in different directions with this topic. To be blunt churches should not have anything to do with them, but were does repentance, forgiveness, or salvation come in all of this or how does one redeem thy brother. Well believe it or not the blood of Jesus Christ cleaneses us from all sins. Now how do you handle someone that you suspect in the church that may or may not have sexual immoraly’s .Take them by the side and councel him a bit and if you feel that they need to confess his immorality in front of a congregation than go for it, but take it in prayer first if that is the right decision for your church. You know, even before my encounter, I have never went to any church sermon that actually talked about sexual immorality or carnal things and I think churches today should talk more about it but since the sex offender or abuser can’t go to church in some states its a bit to late for that, thats were everyone is wrong. All things are possible with God, with man it is impossible. Do we not confront our sin’s one to another like the bible tells us. I think you all get the picture about confronting your sins.
    Reputation mean’s nothing to God but Respect does. Show thyself approved and walk upright and not uncleanis as the heathens do. As for the chaplain and his wordly view’s and his reality, well reality is reality but the christian is suppose to be set apart from this world of confusion so I see nothing wrong with his take if one wants to go to that length. but letting the church know about sexual immorality in the church so all churches that have this problem should care but get law enforcement involved I can’t see how that would help one’s walk with God.
    Now as far as some of you lady’s are concerned about repupation of the church’s that don’t care a church does care some churches would rather brush this under the table so to speak but churches are full of sinners. Remember Jesus came to save the Sinner not the rightous. If it comes to me standing up in front of the congregation to tell them about me being an offender I would be most happy too. So what are we to say count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations? As I have said the church has a responsiblity to call someone out if they get word that they are an offender whether its sex or any other offense. It makes no difference sin is sin but what makes the difference is God and how he can change ones’ heart and the renewing of the mind.

  • Sherry I wanted to reach out to you as your comment seems very well noted, and so does the chaplain comments. While there are all kinds of trails in life I am just saying.. Sexual immorality is a big topic. Now church and state might be separated but God and Man aren’t. Or should I say. Man’s way are always the best way. God forbid. God can correct more than man even with churches dealing with a sex immorality type issue.
    Do you think Paul or any of the disciples wanted to go to prison for preaching the Gospel? Sometimes we have to open our minds to what God is saying and not what man is saying. If there is not a balance in life than something is wrong. Nobody is perfect.Man has always screwed everything up, period. Some country’s don’t even have a public sex registry but that’s besides the point.
    The main topic here is about church reputation I would much rather go to church with a church full of sinners than a church of better than thou believers.
    Now excuse me if this might sound uncanny but the bible is something worth fighting for and everything in it is true. It might be hard to understand for some and easier and more clear to others. So if you use the ways and principles of the bible teachings your gone prosper, man’s way you will never prosper. Being on the registry is just a “label” or “stigma” but its public. So what else does Satan come up with to close up the kingdom of heaven. Confess your sins one to another. Have you confessed your sin’s lately to another when all mine are on the registry. I apologize Boz as I had to speak my peace.

  • Oscar

    “Here is an example of this distorted thought process: The reputation of the church will be damaged when the public learns that it employed an alleged child molester -> a church whose reputation is damaged will lose members -> a church that loses members is a church that loses income -> a church that loses income is a church that will be required to tighten it’s budget, including reducing salaries and laying off staff -> a dwindling church is a church that has less relevance in the community -> a church that has less relevance in the community is a church that is failing to impact the world for Jesus.”

    Surely if a church/organisation/pastor is thinking this way it is time to leave. There are plenty of other groups to participate in. Why would anyone with a conscience bother staying, tithing to support this nonsense and calling into disrepute such words as “suffer the children to come unto Me”.
    This sort of corrupted thinking only prevails when good people do or say nothing about it.

  • Chaplain Martin

    This discussion is approaching the point to where it’s been muddied beyond repair.
    PROTECT THE CHILDREN, PROTECT THE CHILDREN. Education the congregation and staff on this matter. Run background checks, but remember, nothing takes the place of vigilance and parents being involved with their children in the church.

  • nelson moore

    I would suggest that it has less to do with money and more about fundamental issues of shame and hiding. People who are shamed know that all-to-familiar desire to hide and to not be seen. It is extraordinarily powerful. And incidents of sexual abuse are shame-inducing. So perhaps the organization as a whole, and it need not be a church, feels a shame-based impulse to hide and push everything under the rug as quickly as possible. Shining light on shame-inducing acts is so very, very difficult.

  • Oscar maybe this topic should be repharased to be How man can deal with shame in the church. See people should be dealing with saving grace instead of saving face. As we all know money is the root of all evil and were there’s money there’s cover ups. Now believe it or not Sherry gave a good example of David and and yes even though he was King he was no boy scout in a lot of his affairs or king affairs. The story is actually one of the greats in the bible if one wants a lesson about sexual immorality. You got your concubines in the bible and the audulterers and all forms of sexual immorality. Would not that be good reading before one passes judgment of what the church should do. God sought David a man after his own heart. I wonder about the abuser in church if God was still working on him or should authorities get involved and close up the kingdom of heaven. Lets face it authorities couldn’t care less. They just want to know if you are still in denial and all that other scientific mumbo jumbo. They would even go so far as giving you a lie detetor test.
    Gods way is always the best way unless you just want to stone the sex offender in church and ruin his reputation or the church’s. One has to wonder, are you really ruining the reputation of the church? or are you really calling out one? I just wonder if Jimmy Swaggart’s reputation was tarnished or ruined or his walk with God. See we all learn lesson’s. He had a huge church calling and a lot of money was at hand. Did he lose it all. Where is he now. It might suprise all of you. We could talk about a lot of churches today. Sure it might be shamful to confess your sins’ in front of a congregation and maybe one should have to go to such lengths, but God can show you a better way of dealing with the issue. Refresh yourself on David and how a wrong turned out right.
    While the Chaplain and Sherry might have been right with there view’s they have to take their views from man’s orders about human behavior. God looks on the heart and he also changes the heart if we ask and seek HIS guidance. So lets folly for a minute. Did they have a public list of stonings during the biblical times? If the bible is not to correct man’s ways than what is the bible for. Is it not the way of how God was dealing with his people, both storng and weak. Now I have my own battle to deal with and getting back in church and dealing with the sexual nature of man and we all have a sexual nature but God correcting is better than man correcing. Trying is not the way. Trusting is.

  • Oscar

    On the contrary, unless a post is defamatory or obscene, consider leaving it up. Very few paedophiles would ever dare post on a site like this and it is a glimpse into a distorted world that might just happen to give us clues into recognising behaviour patterns that the vast majority who remain hidden leave behind.

    You are spot on with the assessment that child molestation has long term effects, as alas I am to painfully aware.
    The question I am unable to answer from my past is how did so many child sex offenders end up in the “Christian” organisation that I grew up in? On the surface of it, with one exception, all good pious men out to serve their God in a foreign land. But the damage they did was staggering and it goes on decades after the event. Yet as far as I know only one has made any partial admission of guilt and that was because he went to jail.
    Any clues?

  • Carmon Friedrich

    Oscar, it looks like maybe they did remove his original comment, but he continues to prove himself foolish by the long rants he continues to post. He said he is a new Christian, but then he quotes the Bible like he’s been studying it for years. I see your point, but I’m not sure he is the most helpful case study of how pedophiles behave. The ones to be most wary of are the ones who are the most clever and sneaky, the ones you wouldn’t suspect. The ones who gravitate toward positions of trust in Christian organizations so they can have access to victims.

    I am truly sorry for what you went through. There are evil people out there who prey on children. If it happened in a missions school, there are plenty of vulnerable children missing their families and needing a parent substitute, a situation that is helpful to sexual predators. They look for easy targets. This is why it is SO important for people to pay attention to the information Boz and others are sharing about warning signs, and how to educate yourself and your children so that they are not easy targets.

    Thankfully, there are also many, many resources to help survivors of abuse to heal and live whole lives. GRACE has links to resources and counselors, and if you haven’t gotten help yet, please consider looking into finding a good therapist who can help you. I know it’s sometimes harder for men to talk about being abused, but sexual abuse harms both boys and girls. God heals broken people and He can restore your hope and comfort you.

    Blessings,
    Carmon

  • Carmon Friedrich

    Oscar, Here is GRACE’s website, if you don’t have it: http://netgrace.org/resources/

  • As I said at my own trail, there is good and bad in everything we do, but behold a rainbow. Yes we all make mistakes, even those in church. Now it took “guts” and a lot of soul searching to do what Swaggart did. I don’t know if people in the church would go that far. Yes, God is with us in the good times and the bad times and when things go wrong he makes’ them right. All we have to do is have faith in him. He knows the best medicine when man is still asking why. One should not question God.
    Now as far as churches go and men of the cloth that are in churches that seem to be suspected or “caught in the act”. its like the women at the well, Jesus said: Those without sin cast the first stone. Today it seems different thou but it shouldn’t. Now the reason I’m on here is I want to know what others view’s are about the sex offender. You know while the state may label someone a sex offender God doesn’t label except he did label the Devil. and he did label the authorities of that day a bunch of stiff necked hyprocrites. Other than that he healed the sick, ministered to those in prison and even ate with sinners. So surely one could deal with those of less reputation in church that are suspected of sexual abuse. Is this some kind of testing that God uses to test us all. Well many have put God to the test but in the end God gets the “Victory”.
    Churches should live in harmony as a body or assembly of believers and issues do come up in churches such as sexual abuse accusations, but there are a lot more of abuses in the churches today even spiritual abuse.
    How do you deal with all this. Well if you suspect someone in the church have a meeting together, don’t intimidate him or her, respect even for those that are disrespectful is a quality that Jesus showed. Sometimes one has to go out of the way to save the sinner. Ruining someone’s name isn’t the way but if you call that person down that’s better than turning the other cheek as its the sin that needs to be corrected and attended to rather than the reputation.
    Show we get law enforcement involved. That would be a personal opinion of the church to do that but first let the person accused plead his or her case before that’s necessary. A church has to take care of there own and that should be a church matter. Show we banish him or her from the church, well there is a certain kind of behavior and conduct that is needed for all Christians,
    but healing that person is the best way, comforting him or her is the best way to help the brother or sister. There is always going to be some form of issues in any church. I don’t know of a perfect church yet. Remember a church is a building. God doesn’t live in buildings.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Oscar,
    Child molesters and pedophiles are drawn to where children are found. Many of them seem like any other person. Often have jobs, sometimes professions. May have been raised in the church. Use a lot of Godly sounding language. Many of them were sexually abused as children, but that is no excuse for there are many others who have also been abused but have not committed such a crime.

    Many Christians in the church have such a hard time accepting and dealing with the fact that a member or a staff member is suspected of such a horrible action. Many more don’t understand that forgiveness does not mean, forget the victim and the victims family. It does not mean placing a known sexual offender helping in the children or youth department. I does mean you can visit him or her in prison.

  • For you are all children by Faith in Christ Jesus. Yes, guess I am a new Christian but I do remember my grandmother teaching me The green pastures at the age of 5 or 6. I knew it by heart. and it says forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,.and yes I forgive you all and love is the Power that heals.
    We all have to work out things in our lives and the churches have to work out there issues also.

  • This wittness is true. Rebuke them sharply, that they maybe sound in the faith. Now you Chaplain and Boz may think the sex offender is one of the most wicknesses people in the world. Should you gleen more knowledge of how to handle the sex offender in church or should a congregation accept them, The answer is YES. Receive the weak brother. Now how should you do it without losing your good Reputation, without loing members, or moneies and keeping the congregation safe. How do you deal with it. Well, first ask yourself how did Jesus deal with human behavior. With love and kindness. It seems you are are a bunch of back biters on here.
    Purge out your own sins first before you purge our somebody elses sin. If you can’t learn how to forgive one how is God gone to forgive the other. What if we can’t forgive that one, well God forgives when one accepts Him. He tosses all yoru sins away. Even that child abuser can be cleansed. You all are thinking wordly about a situation of the sex offender. And chaplian you should understand more since you deal with sex offenders. God know’s the thoughts of man and he know’s your thoughts also.
    Government correction is not the way. Christian correction is the way and it never fails. . Read Titus and Timothy if you want a good understanding of how to deal with those of lesser degree than yourselves. Now if your counsel be of men it will come to nothing but if it be of God how can you overthrow it. Getting the Police involved in church matters, I don’t know where your thinking is. Safeguards are great, but God is greater, if you learn to use HIS principals correctly. Lets not talk about homosexuals I think God is clear on that but isn’t that sexual immorality by Government standards today.

  • Norm Martin

    Townsend,
    All you have ever done in your comments is to justify yourself and condemn others, such as Boz and myself. No I’m not just against pedophiles or sex offenders, I’m pretty much against murder and robbery. But the subject is sex offenders and the church.
    I do believe firmly that God will and may have given you, only you know that. With forgiveness comes response to that forgiveness. Forgiveness does not wipe out the act or acts but it does point toward not putting yourself in a position to be so tempted again and obey part of your probation. Everything you have written, and I’ve read everyone of them, is an attempt to convert people to your cause of having churches not do the right thing in reporting child abuse. You are very fortunate not to be in prison where people who committed the crime you intimate that you did are often victims themselves because word does get out in the prison populations.

  • Chaplain you are right and Boz is also, I am selfish and conceited I have no reputation. I am nothing.. Even Jesus made no reputation of himself. He just came to teach, educate, minister and to show the people a better way. I still have a lot to learn in my journey thru life. Basically churches should report anyone to police for any sexual touching in there church and also let the congregation know. They should ban them from the church and they should slander that person for even thinking of wanting to abuse a child. So basically we should lock everybody up that even has an impure thought as that would be the correct way to heal a nation and the correct way for churches to handle it. I didn’t come here to hurt any of those little one’s on here but words have power and the tongue is hard to tame. Learn to love one another. We can all have different view’s of how congregations should handle the sex offender, so if there is no easy answers than ask yourself this what would Jesus do? If you really want to know my view on the registry. Its Satan’s method to add confusion to this nation but its here so one has to deal with it but Gods’ ways are always the best way.

  • Oscar

    To give you some idea of the magnitude of what was going on. There were about 20 houses on the mission boarding school where I grew up. There have been 7 confirmed paedophiles active in the time I was there. Because they were operating outside the jurisdiction of their home countries and the local constabulary was busy enough dealing with such matters as tribal warfare and considered of no consequence, these paedophiles were not dealt with. Only one was jailed ( an non U.S. citizen), the rest were allowed to return to the States or their other home countries and magically become model citizens again, collect the adulation of their faithful financiers and live out their days.
    The mission concerned issues statement after statement saying they have new policies that will ensure this never happens again. However one of their members was jailed for 58 years last year, for child sex crimes and another was again allowed to return to the States and allowed to “retire”.

    The scary thing is that the abuse is more than likely still going on, it is just better hidden.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Oscar,
    I don’t know if what happened in your situation is related to the one GRACE investigated or not. It is terrible any time something like this happens.

    To me the bottom line is children are not valued and protected as they should be in our nation and world. If a woman is raped, it is called rape, if a child is raped it is called sexually molested. Seldom you read the words “child rape”. The penalties for child sexual molestation can be far less than that adult rape.

    The first recorded conviction for child abuse in the United States was tried under the law against cruelty to animals. There was not such protection for human children at the time. The ASPCA had led to the passage of the Law. I am referring to a case in the early 20th century. The prosecutor had convinced the court that the law could be used to protect human young, who, like animals, could not adequately protect themselves.

    In a city where I lived for twenty-eight years, the daily news often carried the story of mothers who allow their boyfriend to do whatever to the mothers young children.

    It doesn’t take a genesis to realize that child abuse and child sexual abuse is a big problem in the U.S. We look out for the molester hiding in parks and attempting to get children in their cars. Actually, nearly every child is molested by a person he/she knows.

    We can write all we want about how bad such a thing is in the church or mission field while doing little about it. I put forth a challenge for each church member to make sure the church has a policy to protect children, teens and also adults who might become victims. See that the church and mission policy is in place, use the GRACE web sight to help begin the process. arrange for speakers from GRACE, the Sheriffs Dept. Family and Children Services and other experts to train and help. Be watchful for the signs and speak up.

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  • Oscar

    Many thanks for your informed comments.

    The mission organisation my parents joined was investigated by GRACE. Their report into one field was comprehensive and horrifying to read. GRACE was then not employed to investigate other fields and an inhouse “independent” group was set up, which turned out to be incompetent questionable in its motives.

    My case is further complicated because I am not a U.S. citizen and alas non U.S. missionaries were treated as second class citizens who were told to do the jobs that the more favoured did not wish to do. If we refused we were dismissed and our homes and possessions confiscated, as happened to my parents. We were also subjected to more abuse because of our given status. Obviously laying a complaint with the local sheriff therefore does not assist in such cases.
    However this situation does have a silver lining. The U.S. government does not like it’s citizens abusing children of countries it counts as allies and friends. Quite a few of us non U.S. MKs have put our evidence before international law enforcement agencies and have been well received.

    I have written to countless pastors, ministers, vicars, priests and politicians. Only the last group tend to reply.

    As for my family. They were stripped of all they owned, but in the end they choose to follow the dictates of the cultish mission they “served” and despite overwhelming evidence that the child abuse was rampant, call any allegations “hysteria whipped up by the devil”.

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  • Chaplain Martin

    Oscar,
    I have just read your comment to me. It was dated March 10,2015. I had decided to give no more comments to this site. It is sickening as well as informative to read what you and your family went through. Actually, it is horrible and still continues on. Thank you so much for sharing and may you be blessed and continue to heal.

    I couldn’t help to be reminded of the time a scout leader of my son’s troop had been reported for sexually molesting scouts on an overnight trip (my son was home,sick).
    We parents met on Sunday afternoon (the trip was a week-end one). Action was immediately taken. In the meeting were sheriff office investigators. They the sheriffs office of our county reported what had happened to the county where the offender lived and found he had molested children in his neighborhood. He was given a total of fifteen years in prison. Just think how quickly the knowledge of the abuse led to getting the scouts out of any more danger and the legal system did its job. The scout troop was sponsored by a Methodist church that cooperated.

  • You know Chaplain, we all should use examples from the bible to deal with all problems that come up in life. Church people seem so “pious” on here. I even mentioned about some of the comments to my pastor and if I should tell the congregation about my sex offense and he said if you’ve repented in your heart you don’t have to worry about letting the whole church know. There goes that theory down the drain. So only me and the pastor know and those who I wish to share with.
    Take an example from Moses, even he was a murderer, by todays’ standards a fugitive from justice. Did not God use him in a remarkable way?
    Now while sex offenders have been on this earth all down thru the ages and I’m sure in churches even before the registry became public man has always known what to do whether in church or outside the church it really doesn’t matter. Now I know this “Grace website” is to sort of be a police behind the scenes and sort of a watch dog. I think the greatest watch dog is God and how he can show his love to those that think they are so “holy” than thou that they really should take a look at themselves first before they start casting stones. We all learn lesson’s even myself But I am meek but with Gods Word and his wisdom and understanding I am strong. So with the issue of the sex offender the church leaders should pray before they jump to panic attack mode.

  • Robin

    Word salad much? You’re abusive jargon is the reason victims can’t help as it is.
    and btw; the correct verse is ” judge not lest ye be judged, BUT! If yes must judge, judge righteously”

  • Robin thank you for reminding me about “lest ye be judged” and yes we are all gone to be judged one way or another. and now robin the conclusion to all this.
    Boz presented a question for all of us to comment on. Sure I enjoyed each and every one of your questions, even with the some of the off color comments I presented to the Chaplin which I had to back up tooth and nail but hold my composure. Now I mentioned from the start that I was an “offender” and on the sex registry. First conclusion everyone thought of was I had “raped” someone or molested a child. That was so far fetched I could not believe that you all had already judged me. In fact the irony of it all was I never toughed a child. While I was in an adult chat room and I wondered why this teenage person was there I clicked onto it. If any “thought” transpired it was instilled by that police pretending to be a teenage girl. Did I have a weak moment yes, am I ashamed of it yes. Am I ashamed of a lot of these comments, sure I am, because the bible teaches us to love one another, to think of others better than ourselves, to rebuke and correct others. Now how are you going to rebuke in the faith if your not in the faith to start with. Its all about Corrections and the Chaplain should know that. Would I give people a second chance, yes I would. Even Jesus gives us chance after chance and if we still don’t listen we might as well be let over to a reprobate mind instead of a renewing of the mind.
    Now all of this was a lesson not only for me but for all of you on this board. I have no disrespect for any of you that commented to my up and down chatter but. Now I know dealing with a hard core sex offender is tough but churches are just gone to have to go by what Jesus says…. If you don’t warn them and they keep doing it and doing it again… just bid them good day and kick the dust off your shoes. But show some compassion first.

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  • alison

    First, alert the local police. Second, have a meeting with all the parents in the church. Third, make things right with the victims. Is that enough? Have I left out anything? In most states you are breaking the law if you do not notify the police first.

  • alison

    Wow! I Cor. If a person does this they should no longer be treated like a brother.

  • Alison, thank you for understanding about 1 Cor. I think that’s in chapter 6. And yes Alison the bible is full of mistakes of Christian men.. We could name Peter, Paul,
    Noah, David, Solomon, we could even go to name people on here, we are all sinners and sexual immorality is a sin just like any other sin,. I’m a sinner but if one can’t pull their self out of the fire with correction, and I mean God’s correction, than we all might as well forget about second and third chances. Now believe it or not the bible is not just for the Christian. Sure its for spiritual growth and in no where in the bible does it say go to the police and tell authorities as Boz and others state. If that’s the case than we might as well do that for the alcoholic or the drug addict selling in the parking lot of the church. I mean people the bible is about coming together and loving one another.
    If one can’t stand strong in the faith and tell that person in the church their faults than what kind of Christian are they bring up these days.
    Alison, you made a very good point and I’m glad I didn’t mentioned it because it seemed that good Christian’s on here have already made up there minds…. I guess they follow Boz… I don’t follow Boz I strive to follow God.
    One more point. Christian’s if they are worth their salt are gone to tar and feather who they want but remember if the salt lose its savor what good is it. and I would much rather take Gods burden as his yoke is easy where man’s burden is pretty unbearable.
    Alison, I’m just a meek person and I have made a lot of mistakes in my life but I guess on here nobody makes mistakes and are quick to judge. May God Bless You.

  • ann

    People, people! The point is that these are criminal offenses. The law has been broken at the least! What in the world is a church member thinking to even entertain the idea of not reporting abuse to the authorities?? We are not above the law, people.

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