Basyle "Boz" Tchividjian points out that God did not remain silent in the face of sin.
|Basyle "Boz" Tchividjian|
When a sexual abuse scandal rocks the church, Tchividjian noted that evangelical leaders either avoid the issue, or preach forgiveness, or condemn. "I have fluctuated between anger and tears as I read about Christian leaders who proclaim the Gospel with their voice, but remain silent and/or defensive about the horrors of child sexual abuse within the Church," he wrote in BrentDetwiler.
"Such an approach to sin is incredibly damaging to so many precious individuals who were sexually victimized for years and manipulated by perpetrators and church leaders into remaining silent," he said.
When victims are forced to keep silent about what happened to them, it only tells them that their voice and traumatic experience are nowhere near as important as the opinions of the judge or jury, he said.
"It tells them that the reputation of the institution is more important than the beauty of their soul. The silence from Evangelical 'leaders' regarding the issue of child sexual abuse within the Church is deafening and speaks volumes," added Tchividjian.
He urged Christians to return to the Gospel message when dealing with sexual abuse issues. God did not remain silent in the face of sin, he said, since He took self-sacrificial action to address sin and redeem those He loves.
Tchividjian believes that those who truly understand the Gospel will not remain silent amid these issues.
"We must be willing to openly confront abuse and its surrounding silence and give of ourselves so that those impacted can experience the healing and transformative power of Jesus," he said.
My impulse is to say that there are many churches where "the healing and transformative power of Jesus," is not being experienced, and so there is little faith in that very power and process.
I'm inclined to believe that pastors and elders need to be educated with regard to CSA and its effects on children and adults, and shown how best to respond to it both globally and locally.
Yesterday, I listed a number of things that we should be doing in preventing a lot of child sex abuse. I think training pastors and elders should be added to that list, not just how to respond, but also how to be pro-active in detection and prevention of CSA.
I'm grateful for GRACE and the work it is doing. God bless you.
And it's not just the sexual abuse survivors who need help. In fact, even Christian institutions and its leaders need help and guidance. Tchividjian said it is only when they "truly grasp the beautiful and powerful truth that God did his most powerful work when His son was vulnerable and transparent that the Holy Spirit will be able to breathe new life into their core."
Tchividjian is a former child abuse chief prosecutor and is the founder and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE).