The Evil of Evangelical Leaders Covering Up Sexual Abuse

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

James 3:1

I’ve followed the news stories of investigations against USA Gymnastics and pedophile Larry Nassar with some horror, and watched Rachael Denhollander’s powerful impact statement. This powerful interview with her is a must read for any one in the Church. It is shocking that her own elders forced her out of her church instead of supporting her, because they were more interested and circling the wagons and protecting a powerful evangelical leader who himself was guilty of misleading and covering up horrific child sex abuses in his ministry.

Denhollander closed the interview with this exhortation:

First, the gospel of Jesus Christ does not need your protection. It defies the gospel of Christ when we do not call out abuse and enable abuse in our own church. Jesus Christ does not need your protection; he needs your obedience. Obedience means that you pursue justice and you stand up for the oppressed and you stand up for the victimized, and you tell the truth about the evil of sexual assault and the evil of covering it up.

Second, that obedience costs. It means that you will have to speak out against your own community. It will cost to stand up for the oppressed, and it should. If we’re not speaking out when it costs, then it doesn’t matter to us enough.

Seeing leaders abuse positions of power to sexually victimized others or cover up for the abuse committed by their friends makes me furious. When it is a leader who claims to be representing Christ, however, I do not have the words to express the depths of anger and disgust. That bitterness may be my own problem to work through in light of God’s grace and mercy.

Do read the whole thing. It will be worth your time.

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