Billy Graham's grandson takes to the HuffPo to make the "shocking" claim that sex abuse is worse among evangelicals than among Roman Catholics.
I have a few thoughts about such a claim.
1) Would anyone care about his assertion if he didn't have the grandfather he has? Would HuffPo feature this interview?
How is he defining "evangelical"? Does that include Mormons, Jehovah's
Witnesses, and groups that basically qualify as cults? What about Church
of Christ, who holds the heretical view that water baptism is a
pre-requisite for justification?
3) Does he mean
sex abuse of children or is he including, say, married pastors
committing adultery with other women in his flock?
4) The main reason for "pointing" (as Tchividjian puts it) to Roman Catholics is not that Roman Catholics commit acts of sexual abuse. Who could deny that professing Protestants , or yes, "evangelicals", have done the same?
the main problem has been that unlike Protestant churches, the Roman
Catholic Church claims to be unified under the Pope and Magisterium, to
have a holy hierarchy and government, to be the One True Church that
Jesus founded, preserved by God all the way from then to today, and that
this hierarchy and government has not only ignored but indeed actively
protected and hidden men who were known to be gross sexual predators.
and until some grand sex-abuse-concealment conspiracy among numerous
different "evangelical" organisations or churches or denominations, what
we have chez evangelicalism is an example of bad apples in a
large basket, rather than a rotten root. (And no, I'm not denying that
the number of apples is probably quite high.)
closest parallel to Rome mentioned in the article is probably the
missions agencies, who allegedly systematically move and hide known
sexual predators. If this is true, those predators need to be called to
repent by their church and prosecuted for their crimes, and if they will
not repent, they should be excommunicated by their church while under
prosecution. The missions agency should fire them, obviously, instead of
hiding them. That's a no-brainer.
And for the record,
given my experiences with a very large missions organisation whose name
rhymes with Shminternational Gission Toard, it would not surprise me in
the slightest to learn that many people within that agency are guilty
as Tchividjian contends. The hierarchy of that particular place has a
well-earned reputation for hiding and ignoring sin, and sin has a way of
getting too big for the leash you try to put on it.
Regardless of what definition he is using of "evangelical" and his misunderstandings of the actual issues at hand with the Roman priest abuse scandal, I applaud Tchividjian's efforts and his shining a light on this dark place. Far too many in the evangelical and Reformed world seem to think that calling sinners and possible false converts to repentance in the hopes of reconciling them to God and to their neighbor(s) is bad and sinful, that it's "talking smack about the Bride of Christ". They could not be more wrong and it would be hard to imagine how it could be more self-serving.