When sexual abuse rocks the church, the reactions split believers into many camps: some avoid it, some preach forgiveness, some condemn.
And according to Boz Tchividjian, Billy Graham's grandson and an advocate for sexual abuse victims, evangelical leaders remain largely quiet.
"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," Tchividjian writes of case of sexual abuse in the church.
"It tells them that their voice and experience doesn't matter nearly as much as the voice of a judge or jury. 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 was deafening and spoke volumes."
Now that the Duggar family is at the center of molestation allegations, Tchividjian reiterates that the Church needs to return to the gospel message.
"The gospel we preach is about a God who sacrificed himself for the individual," Tchividjian tells the LaCrosse Tribune. " ... If we are preaching that gospel, churches need to sacrifice the church and stop sacrificing the individuals."
Tchividjian advices victim care and restoration through the gospel; after all, Christ came for the sick, not the healthy.
"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,'" he writes.
To handle such evil in the best way, Tchividjian offers this advice to churches:
1. Care for the victim
2. Care for potential victims
3. Care for other survivors in the church
"I do know that a caring church reflects Jesus by treasuring, protecting, and empowering the victimized and the vulnerable," he writes.
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