It is these pearls that I encounter each time I dive below, into the dark and lonely cesspools of Christendom. They’ve been left for dead by much of the Church, yet they are the first to expend of themselves in pursuing and loving other hurting souls. Their own cries have been ignored, but they’re the first to listen to the cries of those around them. Though the commitment of the Church to abuse survivors is often self-centered and short-lived, the commitment these survivors demonstrate to each other is usually selfless and lifelong. - Boz Tchividjian
Joe Carter is one of the newer employee’s of the Gospel Coalition. He recently wrote an article that is leaving a bad taste in many mouths (Figure of speech Joe – Wink! Wink!).
It starts by:
For years it was merely an overused rhetorical trope, a hyperbolic claim that
followed a predictable pattern:
Step 1: Take an issue of concern for Christians (e.g., abortion, sex trafficking, global persecution, the gospel).
Step 2: Claim that no one in our churches is talking about the issue.
Step 3: Assume the dual role of educator and Old Testament prophet by explaining why the issue matters and why the church must stand up and speak out about it.
I read Boz’s opinion of victims speaking out about injustices they see in the church, and then Joe Carter shows the clear attitude they tend to be faced with presently. There is no hope there – something they clearly need – and he wants people to have a comprehension lesson for English.
It breaks your heart. One wishes to try to reach people where they are, and the other feels it’s a fun game to mock them into silence.
His technique is familiar to me! We have seen such pettiness before. Remember this article?
Should we be saying, “The Church Hurt Me”? Let’s review the logic they were attempting to ‘teach’ you with this article:
The person could mean the big-C Church has hurt them–all Christians everywhere. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But think about it. When a person says “The church has hurt me” and they’re refusing to visit or join any local congregation of believers they have practically projected their hurt onto the entire universal body of Christ! They have assigned their offense to every possible Christian and Christian congregation imaginable. Practically, their distrust has reached universal proportions. In every case this is false. We might provide some of our best care by helping our friends recognize the practical universalism in some of their reactions. Hopefully we can get them to dial it down to the next possible level.
Can we say this is a TAD bit over the TOP? They may provide their best care recognizing a common form of speech isn’t to be taken so literally. Talking down to a hurting person isn’t going to help your case. You do want to reach them right?
This form of ‘emotional’ dribble maybe taken as mocking them, and you won’t get to far.
Let’s imagine a young person coming to them for counsel, because they were abused in the past in the church. Empathy, and a listening ear should come first.
Sadly, it seems being petty about the phrase they used would be given first. Do they really expect this person to trust them, or even truly finish what they have to say after that? Can we use a bit of common sense for goodness sakes!
Well it seems that Joe Carter decided to take the same route, and ignored the context – and then took it a tab bit over top once again.
Janet Mefferd Quoted the issue in a nutshell:
Carter thinks that if you say, “No one in the church is talking about (an issue).”you’re “slandering Christ’s bride” because you can’t know what every individual human in every church is saying. Fine, but that’s not the sense of the term “no one” when used in that context.
It reminds me of a time when my son was little and I said to him,
“Son! Its time to go we need to put our shoes on!”
Son says, “These aren’t shoes MOM their Sandals!”
Yes, my son ignored the context of my statement. At my son’s age when this statement was made? It made sense to him that it was TRULY was a hill worth dying on!
Yes, he was in that kind of mood. He was going to ‘show me’ that SANDALS was the more proper way of stating my request! The fact that sandals are in fact shoes? Made no difference to him. Yes, he could be a frustrating child at times. (giggles) Thankfully, he grew out of that!
Now I feel I’m back in my child’s toddler years, and I’m suppose to ‘acknowledge’ since you haven’t spoke to every human in every church you can’t know that ‘no one’ is talking about some subject. Is the man freaking serious? Grow UP already!
Why this is so important is beyond me, because not stating it HIS way truly isn’t ‘slandering the Bride of Christ’ by any stretch of the imagination.
I can’t believe he is that ignorant that he can’t grasp the intent of those words. What can I assume? The poor man isn’t going to get to far in ministry if he can’t reach people where they are – like Jesus did.
One aspect that came up between a twitter war between Joe Carter and Janet Mefferd was about a statement that Boz said.
While comparing evangelicals to Catholics on abuse response, ”I think we are worse,” he said at the Religion Newswriters Association conference, saying too many evangelicals had “sacrificed the souls” of young victims.
My Friend – Danni Moss – Who’s blog her family left up after she passed away? She has an article on there about the growing numbers of sexual abuse in churches. Her source? The churches insurance companies:
The Associated Press reported recently that three insurance companies receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by Protestant clergy, challenging the assumption that clergy sexual abuse is an exclusively Catholic problem that does not take place in other churches.
That is a higher number than the annual average of 228 “credible accusations” brought against Catholic clerics in records reported by the Catholic Church in response to media scrutiny, a priest observed in a Fox News commentary questioning why the story isn’t garnering more attention.
While the report about abuse in Protestant churches doesn’t absolve guilty Catholic priests or those who enabled them, said Father Jonathan Morris, it offers a more complete picture. “The problem of sexual abuse has no denominational boundaries,” he wrote.
The AP obtained figures on sex-abuse claims from three companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in America–Church Mutual Insurance Company, GuideOne Insurance and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.
I suppose if Joe Carter was all that interested in ‘truth’ doing his own research like the AP reporter did – would happen.
Honestly? The show of true care and compassion towards victims would be along the lines of what Father Jonathan Morris stated above. There are no denominational boundaries. Who has MORE sexual perp’s isn’t important – hope for victims IS! Why are we missing the big picture here?
All you have to do is read some newspapers online, and sadly stories of Pastors – or church personnel – are in there almost everyday because they have been arrested. Something is clearly wrong with how we approach this subject, and we want to NIT PICK on how to phrase something before we address it?
Sadly, it seems ‘context’ isn’t big on the radar of individuals at the Gospel Coalition – among others ‘offended’ by this statement.
When you read what Boz had to said in context? The Evangelical Church should be ashamed of its arrogant attitude towards the Catholic Church.
The fact that Evangelical churches don’t have the same type of organizational structure as Catholics? It’s a perfectly legitimate smoke screen to use their type of structure to minimize abuse within their own ranks.
When you use ‘independence’ of churches? Distances them even further.
They are free from some the systematic and vast numbers of victims under the same umbrella. I mean you can’t ‘tie’ all the different churches together – we are all SEPARATE – so our numbers aren’t even CLOSE!
These men would make awesome politicians wouldn’t they?
Twist some differences just enough to attempt to show how they are COMPLETELY different….yet they aren’t. Yes, at this point you are supposed to drink the Kool-Aid and feel better about yourself. “We don’t have a child sexual abuse PROBLEM!” Talk about Slandering the Bride of CHRIST!
Lets move on to some aspects SOME actually can acknowledge – while others play their ‘Christian politician game’ shall we?
Mr. Tchividjian’s comment:
The greatest failure of the church/Christian organizations when it comes to responding to abuse is institutional self-protection. Too often Christian institutions have been willing to sacrifice the individual human soul in exchange for the protection of their own reputation.Is so true!
Here are some other comments from a separate interview I found that we see all to often.
Why do some churches and other Christian institutions struggle with reporting suspected abuse to the civil authorities? Regardless of the stated reasons, the common thread running through this struggle is a “fear” that is rooted in self-centeredness. It is a “fear” of losing the “good reputation” of a ministry, it is the “fear” of losing ministry donors, it is the “fear” of losing congregation members, it is the “fear” of losing a ministry altogether, and all such “fears” are usually wrapped in a fundamental falsehood that reporting such abuse within the Christian community will “damage the cause of Christ”.[ix] Do you see the great tragedy of this self-centered fear? Ultimately, fear? Ultimately, it is an attempt to rob God of his sovereignty and glory by attempting to “protect” identities and possessions. This is in direct contravention of the Gospel.
God doesn’t need our protection, and sadly they forget the roles in that aspect are reversed.
We need HIM! The lack of faith within these churches just blows my mind. We see Job in the bible, and he had everything taken from him…WELL just about he still had God. Yes, that was all he needed. He still loved and obeyed him. In return, God gave back to him.
Seems preachers can preach about Job, but they don’t have the faith that he did. They would rather twist some scripture around, and throw people under the bus…for their ministry! I guess they feel God wouldn’t restore it.
Don’t you get that is what people are trying to point out? You aren’t suppose throw people under the bus, and FEAR for our ministry! Those abused people are more important to God.
Talk about lack of backbone! Churches can survive such an ordeal, and yet some don’t want to be bothered with such details.
A fundamental point that must be understood early on in this discussion is that the crime of child sexual abuse is not merely a personal offense, but rather it is an urgent public concern. Child sexual abuse does not even fit into the paradigm of which Jesus was speaking in Matthew 18. Jesus never intended his statements in Matthew 18 to be twisted into the required method for handling murder, rape, torture, kidnapping, or genocide. Child sexual abuse is not a private matter but rather a public and civic one, rightly under the sword of the civil authority. All are endangered by this crime against a little one.
There is another teaching of Jesus that regulates how child sexual abuse is to be handled procedurally. In Romans 13, Jesus tells us through the Apostle Paul that believers are to be subject to the civil authorities. They swing the sword as God’s ministers, bringing wrath upon evil-doers (Romans 13:1-4). Child sexual abuse has been deemed to be criminal by the civil authorities deserving of just punishment.
The scourge of child sexual abuse is not just a sin violating the 7th Commandment in Exodus 20:14 and Matthew 5:27-30, but it is also a criminal offense in all 50 States. It is not a matter which can be handled quietly between two persons or between two families, as was misguidedly done in Genesis 34 and in many churches today. It is a matter of public alarm, because of its pervasive, extensive, and expansive nature, causing a cascade of misery in countless lives. Additionally, the God-ordained civil authorities in virtually every jurisdiction mandate in some fashion that suspected child abuse be immediately reported to law enforcement.
When Christian organizations are to busy nit picking over silly things like figures of speech? That’s a sad state of affairs.
It seems the Gospel Coalition, and Joe Carter had their feeling hurt over a aspect of Church life that they would rather give lip service to – than acknowledge. When they would like to be handed stats, and proof – rather than see the more important aspect of helping the hurting?
They have lost the discernment they claim they have, and others need to use in this area.
You see the people you whined about Joe? They need hope – not articles about their use of the English Language. One is certainly more important to God than the other. People don’t need your encouragement to correct their wording when they need help either – and yet that is what you are teaching. You are teaching others, “Ignore them! They used one of those phrases we all know is ridiculous!’ Is that seriously the message you want to send?
You really need to go back to the basics of our faith.
Why speaking truth in love is not ‘slandering Christ’s Bride’
Where are the Voices? The Continued Culture of Silence and Protection in American Evangelicalism
Join Boz Tchividjian on Steve Brown Etc. for a discussion of what it takes to recognize, investigate and respond to child sexual abuse in religious institutions.
Janet Mefferd on Joe Carter: Round 2--'Carter's message to Christians is SHUT UP'
Language taken literally Cartoons
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