Sunday, July 02, 2017

Follow Up On The ABWE Sexual Abuse Story

As a quick follow up to my story Does Evangelicalism Have A Sexual Abuse Problem? , I saw that someone had sent a letter to the editor to Tim Challies. Tim removed comments a while ago but still posts letters sent to him by readers. This letter was addressing Tim's link on an Ala Carte post June 23rd where he linked to the article The Silence Of The Lambs. Tim often posts links to interesting stuff and while I missed this link I think the letter writer hits the mark. First here is what Tim wrote to accompany the link on the 23rd.
This is a devastating article about abuse within ABWE. “Over the past five years, in fact, it has become increasingly clear—even to some conservative Christians—that fundamentalist churches face a widespread epidemic of sexual abuse and institutional denial that could ultimately involve more victims than the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church.”
That was it. Just a single sentence that the article was "devastating" and then the most salacious quote from the article. No other comment.

As I pointed out in my response to the original article, this was a hostile piece written with a clear intent to slander all of "fundamentalist" and "conservative" Christianity as a hotbed of sexaul abuse. I don't think Tim did the right thing by posting, with a single sentence affirmation, the accusation of a publication hostile to the church of Jesus Christ declaring that there is a widespread epidemic of sexual abuse that is caused in large part by being "too conservative". Tim has a wide audience and like every Christian he has the obligation to be discerning in how we appear to take sides in issues like this.

The letter to Tim is from a Stephen W. and he is doctor and will be going to Africa shortly on a medical mission with ABWE. You should read his entire very comprehensive letter as he does an excellent job detailing why he is going through ABWE and the steps they have taken to rectify their admitted gross failures and dereliction. I wanted to point out one paragraph where he explains his reason for concern and writing his letter:
Which leads to my motivation in writing you directly. A significant number of my fellow church members and friends read and trust your blog. So, when you post an article like this, it carries a significant weight. And unfortunately, I am concerned that by posting this article without any mention to ABWE’s response, you are unwittily (sic) propagating this incomplete disclosure of truth.
Spot on. Tim has a huge audience and is disproportionately influential on a lot of Christians, especially the younger Reformed types. With that sort of audience and influence, Tim has a great deal of responsibility in what and how he reports. Something like the article he linked to needed to be addressed but a single sentence reference was probably not the way to go, especially not when brothers in Christ have already made public, easy to find responses to the same issue raised in the original article. I found their webpage and the section on their response in a matter of minutes when I was writing my piece, Tim could have done the same. Tim should have done the same. I hope he takes Stephen W.'s advice and writes a longer piece because otherwise I think he is doing a disservice to the ABWE and his Christian brethren in general.

With great blogging power comes great responsibility.

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