(Second in a series; 14,500 views/listens as of April 14, 2024)

Basyle Tchividjian is founder and board member of a parachurch business called G.R.A.C.E., initialism for “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.” The board and employees of GRACE work draining that swamp of church officers and  leaders of Christian organizations who have abused their authority by refusing to protect the souls under their watch care from physical and sexual predators.

It is no surprise to any Christian who reads his Bible that church officers—deacons, pastors, elders, and Titus 2 “older women”—abuse their authority in this way. Our Lord warned us against such abusers of authority, repeatedly.

He said we would be under the care of hirelings who wouldn’t use their authority for the wellbeing of His sheep, but would abuse their authority, betraying His sheep. He warned us we could recognize these false shepherds easily: when a thief or wolf came against the sheep, instead of protecting the sheep, the false shepherd would flee:

He who is a hired hand… sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. (John 10:12-13)

The church is led by many such abusers of authority today, so our Lord’s warnings concerning how to identify them are crucial to our fatherhood and motherhood in the home and church.

But we have a problem, here.

Normally, we only use the word “abuse” to refer to women and men who are physical and sexual predators, taking out their emotional anger and satiating their sexual lusts on those under their authority. There are as many forms of such violent and sexual abuse as there are perverse lusts and relationships of inequity between authority and subordinate, powerful and weak, rich and poor, and (in slave societies) slave and master.

We’ve read and heard the constant accounts of mothers killing the infants in their wombs, senators seducing their pages, pastors seducing or overpowering their parishioners, wives or husbands beating their spouses, family members beating, molesting, and raping their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, siblings, and cousins.

What is critically important to recognize at this late date is this: the abuse of authority committed by shepherds who refuse to defend such victims from their predators is more evil than the terrible abuse of the predators themselves.

Why?

Because the predators we will always have with us. Since the Fall of Adam, men who murder their brothers (Cain and Abel), women who murder their children (abortion), male family members who rape their womenfolk, women who beat their little ones, teachers, choir and band directors who sodomize their students, pastors who seduce their parishioners, prison guards who torture their inmates, and on it goes—these and many other acts of brutality have been constant across every society of man. And they are documented throughout the pages of Scripture.

Knowing the depravity of every human heart, those appointed by God to positions of authority are answerable to Him, First, for the safety of our weak and vulnerable, our poor and enslaved, our sojourners in our midst, our invalids and elderly, and our women and children.

Every man and woman holding any position of authority is accountable for the lives and wellbeing of those under his authority. Whether their authority is domestic, ecclesiastical, or civil, they are to give their lives up protecting their sheep.

Let me put it this way, using GRACE’s normal focus of churches as my example: the church’s elders must never abuse their authority by pretending not to see or recognize the abuse of the young men of the church by their choir director when he’s single, middle-aged, invites them to live with him in his home, has them give him back rubs, takes them on vacation with him to the Caribbean over Spring Break, flirts with them during rehearsals, and so on.

Of course such an authority is a sexual abuser! The Titus 2 “older women,” deacons, pastors, and elders—let alone the older choir members—are all lying when they say they knew nothing of what was going on.

Is it normal for a middle-aged choir director who is single to ask men to come live with him, take them on vacation, and have them give him back rubs?

No, it is not. And there it is!

Authorities, whether fathers and mothers in the home or pastors, elders, and older women in the church, are called and set apart by God to defend His sheep.

Tragically, the sheep will always have predators among them trying to kill and eat them.

Tragically.

Even more tragically, many many hirelings will act like they don’t see the predators, or will argue that the predators aren’t really all that dangerous, and it’s better not to hurt the predator’s feelings or treat him like a pariah; it’s better to be tender to him than to protect the tender sheep. Many hirelings will tell each other that raising their voices against the predator or hitting him with their rod or staff would only scare the ewes and their lambs, and we must not do that. Not at any cost. They are our bread and butter.

If anything does happen, we can just tell everyone, “Why, we had No IDEA!!!”

And really, who knows we did? Or do? Have an idea.

Keep it out of.the minutes.

Here’s a question from years of experience as a shepherd. Whose sin is worse? The father who rapes his daughter or the mother who knows her husband is raping her daughter and remains quiet—for years?

Reading GRACE’s Tenth Presbyterian Report on the sins within Philly’s Tenth Presbyterian Church, PCA, it is clear GRACE is not as concerned about the abuse of authority by pastors and elders who covered up the sexual abuse as they are about those who committed that sexual abuse. One clear indication of this is that they name the second class of abusers, but hide the names of the first. The predators are named. The hirelings are not.

They’re wrong. Badly wrong.

Murderers and rapists and the incestuous we will always have with us. That is the reason God has set authorities such as police officers, fathers, and pastors over us. They are to attack and kill the predators against His little ones. Inasmuch as they have done it for His little ones, they have done it for Him.

Those to whom He has delegated authority for the protection of His little ones who claim they don’t recognize the wolves, or who run from them, leaving the lambs in the wolf’s mouth, commit a crime worthy of death. They are traitors. In time of danger, they have fled the battlefield.

GRACE hides that from its clients, though, by hiding the names of those abusers.

They only reveal the names of the sexual perverts.

Why?

Because it’s those abusers who refuse to stop the predators who pay GRACE for their reports.

Why would church officers who have covered up sexual abuse pay an outside business to investigate that abuse?

Because its understood beforehand that the bad guys will be the sexual predators, not the officers who gave those sexual predators free access to their parishioners. To their ewes and lambs. Again, the sexual predators are named and the hirelings are not.

The hirelings who abandoned the battlefield only receive slaps on their wrists and tongue-cluckings. Which really aren’t too painful. But which, for the members of the congregation who read the Report, are quite cathartic.

(Second in a series; 14,500 views/listens as of April 14, 2024)


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