silence

The Failure of Silence in the Church


I believe this monumental failure on the part of the Christian community is a consequence of its failure to understand and embrace the gospel. The gospel tells us that it is Christ’s perfection, Christ’s obedience, Christ’s holiness, Christ’s selflessness (the list could go on and on and on) that reconcile dark and depraved sinners such as you and me with a perfect, sovereign, and loving God. Put another way, it is the “good works” of Jesus, not us, that draw us into the arms of our Heavenly Father. The consequence of fully grasping and embracing this indescribable truth is that we discover that our identity is not in ourselves and what we do, but in Christ and what He has done. Therefore, when we seek to control and protect the institution, we display that we have failed to understand the very fundamentals of the gospel. This control and protectionism is often carried out under the guise of “protecting the integrity of the gospel,” when it reality it is nothing more than protecting the identity and reputation of the institution.

Perhaps the most common method of such protectionism is secrecy and silence. An institutional-centered church will do all it can to silence those who expose sin in order to protect its “reputation within the community.” A Gospel-centered church will embrace light and be transparent about sin. It will also lovingly embrace those wounded by sin, regardless of what others may think or say, understanding that its identity and reputation is in Christ alone.

by Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, Founder and Executive Director

Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE)

 

Child Protection Policy Approved by the PCA

Child Protection Policy Approved by the PCA

Here is the powerful declaration made by the 42nd General Assembly of the PCA that ought to be considered by each denomination as they deal with the Church’s silence on this important subject:

OVERTURE 6 – “Child Protection in the PCA”

Whereas our Lord Jesus demonstrated his righteous anger at his own disciples, rebuking those who would do anything to prevent children from coming unto him, saying “to such belongs the Kingdom of God,” (Mark 10:14) and condemning those who would harm children, saying “it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6); and

Whereas an epidemic of child sexual abuse exists in our culture, with the vast majority of such children being harmed by someone they know and trust, wounding children physically,
emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually with lifelong ripple effects; and

Whereas the silence of the church – when we fail to appropriately address “rape, incest,
sodomy and all unnatural lusts” (WLC 139) by not reporting disclosures of child sexual abuse, or not caring for those who disclose child sexual abuse, or not proactively taking steps to prevent child sexual abuse – is a fundamental failure of servant leadership, rendering the church complicit and culpable before the Lord, driving people away from the safety, healing and hope of Jesus Christ; and

Whereas Scripture warns leaders against the “careless exposing, or leaving [those in their care] to wrong, temptation, and danger” (WLC 130), and every jurisdiction acknowledges that child sexual abuse is a serious felony and has its own mandated reporting laws;

Therefore, be it resolved that we exhort all church leaders to become informed and to take an active stance toward preventing child sexual abuse in the church by screening staff and
volunteers, training them in child protection, and actively maintaining child protection policies pertaining to our obligations to love our children and protect their rightful interests as God’s image-bearers from the devastating actions of abusers (Matthew 18:5-6; WLC 129-130); and

Be it further resolved that we remind all churches that the heinous crime of child sexual abuse must be reported to duly appointed proper representatives of the God-ordained civil
authorities, in accordance with local laws, and that we must cooperate with those authorities as they “bear the sword” to punish those who do evil “in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered . . . to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever” (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14; WCF 23.3); and

Be it further resolved that we urge all church leaders to use their influence for the protection of children, by any and all godly means, including preaching and teaching against the heinous sin of child sexual abuse, warning anyone with knowledge of these sins to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11), and by supporting victims who often suffer in silence and shame without the vocal and compassionate support of the church; and

Be it further resolved that we direct the Permanent Committees and Agencies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to review their policies, procedures and practices in the area of child protection, including their response to child sexual abuse disclosures, their faithfulness in reporting child sexual abuse to duly appointed proper representatives of the God-ordained civil authorities, in accordance with local laws, their care for survivors of child sexual abuse, and their future plans to help educate the PCA on child sexual abuse, and all other areas of response consistent with Scripture and the Constitution of the PCA, and report to the 43rd General Assembly through the Administrative Committee, after it has referred the matter to and received a report from the Cooperative Ministries Committee; and

Be it finally resolved that the 42nd General Assembly urge all members of the PCA to renew our allegiance to our Lord Jesus by loving our children as he loves our children, “for to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14)