Predatory Pastors: Victim Blaming

Here’s a much-needed blog from PredatoryPastors.com – a locally-based (but unaffiliated) ministry near us – about the victim blaming that often occurs when a beloved or otherwise respected church leader is outed as a sexual predator.

www.PredatoryPastors.com

I have been involved in many church abuse cases over the years, both as an attorney (now retired) and as local elder who has been asked to intervene on behalf of victims in other churches.

In my experience, victim blaming – and even outright trying to destroy the victim – always happens in cases involving an abusive but otherwise inspiring church leader.

Attempts to cover up the abuse and protect the abuser through personal attacks are not only directed against the victims, however, but also those who stand with them. I’ve seen it first hand in sexual abuse scandals involving Christ Chapel Assembly of God, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Bill Gothard, Frank Viola and others.

In fact, in the ongoing Frank Viola scandal it’s gotten so bad that they’ve begun to harass and even stalk the wives (including mine) of those who dare help his victims and mention his history of abuse – all in a desperate attempt to scare his victims by silencing us.

It’s time to stop the nonsense.

If the response to abuse is more about protecting the predatory leader, church or movement than the victims, then you, your church and your “movement” have a problem. In fact, I would argue that you are more like a cult than a church or legitimate move of God.

May we be the true Body of Christ, with eyes that see and hearts that embrace the victims.

Read more here …

Predatory Pastors: Victim Blaming

~ Jim Wright

Stories of Redemption

Yesterday, after a seven month hiatus to care for my dad and deal with some of my own health issues, another local elder and I visited the jail to check on a church I previously had been helping.

taking-up-your-crossThe first thing I noticed was around twenty new men were now in that fellowship, with only two of the original brothers still around (the others, as is normal in a jail environment, had been released or transferred).

The church, I was thrilled to see, had not only survived but thrived during my absence – with them showing a wonderful continuity of life from when I last saw them.

As I then listened to them openly share their hopes and struggles in the Lord with each other, and watched them encourage one another to love and good works (Heb. 10), I cried silent tears of joy.

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Islam and Pluralism

The daily atrocities by Islamic Jihadists against people of other faiths and cultures are bad enough.

Islamic-hateWhat I find equally alarming is the apparent inability of moderate Muslims to counter the Jihadists by openly articulating a clear and effective theological basis – from the Qur’an – for religious and cultural pluralism.

Increasingly, I wonder if it is even possible to do so – either because they fear retribution by other Muslims or because maybe the Qur’an provides no consistent basis for such views.

These issues highlight an uncomfortable truth: Those who are unable to embrace and defend cultural and religious pluralism should not be allowed immigrant or refugee status in societies which do.

This is not bigotry, but frank reality.

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I Love Church!

Participatory church? I do that.

I sit and stand when the worship leader tells me to and sometimes even sing along, do the happy clap or raise my arms with my eyes closed when prompted;

pew

Yup, I love church!

I shake hands with the guy in the pew ahead of me when the associate pastor says to greet one another;

On occasion I say “amen” when the senior pastor asks us to say “amen” during his sermon;

I put money in the plate when its passed down my row by the ushers; and

I even bow my head when told to do so during the invitation for folks to raise their hands and receive Jesus.

So yes, I participate when I go to church, thank you very much!

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Presuppositions

Getting down to basics…

Without external revelation on what is truly true, really real and rightly right – by one with the authority to define all because He created all – you are trapped in the meaningless absurdity of circular logic and self-referential perception.

Some ask if God has validity apart from their own logic and perceptions. The more relevant question, however, is if logic and perceptions can ever have validity apart from God? This is the question existentialists and atheists cannont answer. ~ www.CrossroadJunction.com

The Great Divide: Biblical Absolutes and Relativism
http://www.crossroadjunction.com/2010/11/12/the-great-divide/

Men With Chests

C.S. Lewis bemoaned, in The Abolition of Man, that the West was becoming a culture of men without chests – meaning we have either lost the courage of our God-given convictions or in many cases denied those virtues altogether.

moneychangers

Offending the Offensive

This is amply illustrated by relativistic “tolerance”, which has been used for too long as a counterfeit “virtue” to attack what is true, beautiful and moral.

Lately, however, those who rationalize Jihadist atrocities in the name of “tolerance” – and who then protest that we must not “offend” Islam – are causing more and more people to reject the moral bankruptcy of their squishy relativism.

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House2House: RIP

snake-oil-salesmanIt looks like House2House Ministries and Magazine have closed shop once again.

What an unfortunate, checkered history of organic/simple church failure after failure.

How many times will it take before Felicity Dale and gang finally figure out that you can’t start and sustain healthy local churches – simple, organic or otherwise – by promoting phony self-appointed “apostles”:

- Who ain’t livin’ what their sellin’, with private lives that don’t match up with their finely-honed public persona;

- Who have no consistent history of successfully forming, maintaining or being part of sustainable local churches that look anything like what they promote in their books, blogs and conferences;

- Who deny that the Great Commission has general relevance today;

- Who proclaim that scripture is not the written word of God and that those who affirm scripture are committing “treason against Christ”;

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My Stunning Prophetic Predictions for 2015

Man of GodMy stunning predictions for 2014 proved to be the ONLY 100% accurate prophecies by anyone anywhere last year.

So, not wanting to let all the prophets of fame, name and gain dominate yet another year with their headline-chasing rubbish, I’ve decided to once again put myself on the line by publishing my stunning new prophetic predictions for 2015.

This way, the world can see once more who is the true prophet among us!

So (drum roll…) here is what’s gonna happen in 2015, raw and unvarnished:
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Legalistic Goodism

doing_goodThe old legalism of “be good” (God is all about me being moral) …

Was followed by the current legalism of “do good” (God is all about me doing good, like helping the poor) …

Which rapidly is being replaced by the new legalism of “feel good” (the existential fad that God is all about affirming me, filtered through my own hurts, needs and sensibilities) – as its devotees now diss anyone or anything that doesn’t feed their need.

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The Lessons of Ferguson

It’s time to speak plainly and listen to each other, even if we don’t like what the other side has to say.

black_and_white_handshakeUntil White America understands the pent-up frustration of Black America over the suspicion, marginalization and humiliation they are forced to endure from predominately White power structures…

Until Black America understands the pent-up frustration of While America over the crime, entitlement and social disarray they are forced to subsidize in predominately Black neighborhoods…

Neither side will learn the lessons of Ferguson.

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Prayer and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I have always felt, is our nation’s most significant holiday.

It is the least commercial and the most focused on acknowledging God’s providence over our land by calling on His name as sovereign Lord and expressing gratitude to Him.

Don’t lose heart. God desires to bless not just individuals who love Him, but whole nations. He holds the destiny of nations in His hands and is bigger than any headlines or trends.

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Organic and Simple Church Snares

More and more people are legitimately desiring to move towards organic/simple church and away from the institutional church.

A Snare for the Unwary

A Snare for the Unwary

Unfortunately, there are major snares for those on that journey. Too often, they fall prey to books and blogs on organic/simple church by those who either reject the plenary authority of scripture or outright deny that the Bible is the written word of God.

Although such authors talk a good talk, they typically have no consistent history of actually finding, creating or sustaining in their own lives the kind of local “organic” or “simple” church they are selling to others.

Increasingly, it seems that those who live it seldom sell it, while those who sell it seldom live it.

This makes it very hard to move forward, because there’s a lot of crazy being peddled to the unwary out there in organic land.

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Civil Government and Civic Engagement: A Worthy Calling

Here are some thoughts on yesterday’s elections that I posted on Crossroad Junctions’ Facebook page:

I don’t want a central government that promises to solve all my problems by demanding the power to run my life. Such utopian schemes always lead to intolerance and tyranny.

It's fun watching millennials finally figure out, just like us old farts did in our day, that liberalsim is very attractive ... until you actually have to live under it. ~ www.CrossroadJunction.coomInstead, I want a central government which insures that the foundations for a healthy society are strong, so I then can build the kind of life that God wants for me, my family, my church and the community where I live.

A central government that promises to solve all my problems is a government that seeks to usurp the rights and responsibilities God has given to individuals, the family, the church, local communities, and voluntary associations of folks working together to make their lives better.

Folly and Ruin

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill

Mars Hill, a network of churches in Seattle, is shutting down as more and more accounts keep surfacing of behind-the-scenes abusive behavior by their otherwise publicly charming and inspiring founder, author and senior pastor, Mark Driscoll.

I’ve seen this happen many times over the years as churches and Christian movements of all stripes rise and fall.

When a church or movement organizes around a gifted man and his individual vision or mission, it will grow rapidly at first but then stumble as it eventually hits up against his limits.

This is not how it should be.

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Being The Church

This morning, I’m not going to some high-cost building to find a parking space, be greeted by ushers I barely know, sit in a pew, be psyched up by a loud worship band, or inspired by some finely honed monologue sermon from a front podium.

Rather, my wife and I are opening our home to those who want to come and share breakfast at our table as we talk, sing, teach, disciple and encourage one another in the Lord. Our time together is not scripted or directed – except by the Holy Spirit.

Joining us will be folks with graduate degrees and fancy houses, along with folks living in the woods, and just about everything in between. We are very diverse yet know and honor one another – while welcoming others with open hospitality – as we learn to be co-heirs and co-participants together in Christ.

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