4 seminary leaders voice concern over film critical of 'social justice'

"'By What Standard,' [is] being produced by the Founders Ministries, an organization founded in 1983 with a Calvinistic view of Baptist life and led by Florida pastor Tom Ascol." - BPNews

(By What Standard trailer)

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Jay's picture

You can't be trusted to be accurate, let alone fair.  You obviously despise Wilson, disbelieve everything he says, and are therefore happy to twist what he says to fit your narrative...  

I don't have time to get into this, but I have defended Doug at least twice on Twitter.  Here and Here.

Just wanted to lay that allegation that I'm an all things DW hater to rest.  I do * vociferously * object to the argument that Rachael Denhollander is aligned with "demonic powers and principalities", and further object that to attack another Christian for that is malicious slander and libel on the part of CrossPolitic.

That line of argument leads to all sorts of problems, including the cover-up and mishandling of all sorts of abuse cases.   We must be better at handling this.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Larry's picture

Moderator

Jay, why not deal with Wilson's actual arguments about evidence? What is wrong with his argument that we should hear evidence before drawing conclusions?

I've been on record for a long time on this site that these matters are matters for the police and the courts. 

What about the conflict between Rachel's advice and the detectives advice? Who should TVC follow?

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry wrote:

What about the conflict between Rachel's advice and the detectives advice? Who should TVC follow?

Exactly Larry. Police go after prosecutions... lawyers get money and "face time". Also the lawyers then get the popularity to do the next job.

Jay's picture

But in an unbelieving law order, when the principalities and powers are allowed to have it their way, guilt and innocence is assigned on the basis of an assumed status. If you are in the approved class, then evidence is not necessary. If you are in the disapproved class, then evidence won’t help you.

I find it supremely ironic that Wilson has not only assumed guilt (as has at least one of the CP trailer editors) on Denhollander's part about being aligned with demonic "principalities and powers" (a line repeated often in the trailer, Cross Politic podcast, and here) but that so many seem to find no fault with this line of thinking. 

The entire point is that she advocates that we provide conditions for the victims of abuse to be supported so that  the government can pursue justice.  It is appropriate and right to ask the civil government to get involved where necessary.  Abuse and sexual assaults are crimes.  Turning these matters over to the state is appropriate.  Christians, of all people, should want true Biblical justice for crimes.

Doug seems to believe that we must wait for the rule of law.  I agree with that.  So then why write this:

Now in this sense, the Southern Baptist Convention is being lured, enticed, tempted, and seduced into thinking that they can find true justice from the principalities and powers. In a Christian civil order, God’s Word is supreme, and as a consequences, rules of due process are established. When someone is accused, the accuser is not given free rein. When someone is accused, that person is granted the presumption of innocence. We don’t automatically believe the prosecutor. We commit ourselves to believe the evidence, and we set up a system whereby the evidence is actually allowed to speak, as best we can arrange it, and we hold back on things like sentencing until after a verdict is reached.

Which is exactly the criminal system that the US has. It's also the system that Rachael (and Boz) are licensed to practice in and have done for years.  If he wants to decry the Twitter mob, then talk about Twitter mobs.  I agree with that.

To argue that "believing the victim" is to align yourself with demonic powers and principalities and also demands summary judgment without evidence and without a fair trial is specious and deceitful.  It's a sinful misrepresentation of their position that automatically assumes not just evil intent, but Satanic influence.  What "believing the victim" means is that we act in accordance that the abuse happened and that we get the police and courts involved so that the crime can be properly adjudicated.  It doesn't mean that we march Jeffrey Epstein into the street and execute him on someone's say-so.

Wilson is being lazy, sloppy, malicious, and evil.  Wilson and CP drew a false dichotomy in their argument and then lied about it to many people.  Now they are doubling down and trying to handwave it away (again) by misrepresenting their perceived opponents.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

I haven't looked into it too much, but Denhollander has very little to do with that case. Wilson has a grudge against Boz going back years, and Boz is the attorney on one of the TVC cases.  Boz and Rachael have spoken at the same conferences, and as far as I know, that is their relationship.

Rachael isn't involved with that case at all, and it's sloppy or lazy or malicious to continually attach her to that church's legal battles.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

Mark, I wrote a long series on an abuse situation on my blog and my email filled up with women telling me the same tired story and this was a common refrain. I asked them the same question: why do you listen to an idiotic pastor that tells you that? I still don't know the answer. But they listen and go back. Over and over.

It's because they look to their pastor to give them God's perspective on the abuse and how to handle it.  So when the pastor tells them that it's God's Will to submit to their husband (or when they don't "have peace from God" about leaving), they figure that they have to stay.  Not to mention all the accompanying stigmas associated with being raped, abused and/or divorced.  Most pastors will take the side of the husband/man, and more than a few will also bring church discipline into play if she refuses to be silenced or if she leaves him.  Plus they lose existing social networks and support by leaving the church in the first place; many women have to not just restart their entire life, but pay massive costs to do so, like deposits on a new apartment and childcare.  The fortunate ones have family they can lean on to help...probably 90% of the rest don't.

I've personally heard this story enough that I know why they go back.  It's why Wilson's argument is toxic - because he is cutting the victims of crimes off from getting justice.  It's also being promulgated to other pastors and Christians as "the godly form of justice".

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

GregH's picture

Jay wrote:

Mark, I wrote a long series on an abuse situation on my blog and my email filled up with women telling me the same tired story and this was a common refrain. I asked them the same question: why do you listen to an idiotic pastor that tells you that? I still don't know the answer. But they listen and go back. Over and over.

It's because they look to their pastor to give them God's perspective on the abuse and how to handle it.  So when the pastor tells them that it's God's Will to submit to their husband (or when they don't "have peace from God" about leaving), they figure that they have to stay.  Not to mention all the accompanying stigmas associated with being raped, abused and/or divorced.  Most pastors will take the side of the husband/man, and more than a few will also bring church discipline into play if she refuses to be silenced or if she leaves him.  Plus they lose existing social networks and support by leaving the church in the first place; many women have to not just restart their entire life, but pay massive costs to do so, like deposits on a new apartment and childcare.  The fortunate ones have family they can lean on to help...probably 90% of the rest don't.

I've personally heard this story enough that I know why they go back.  It's why Wilson's argument is toxic - because he is cutting the victims of crimes off from getting justice.  It's also being promulgated to other pastors and Christians as "the godly form of justice".

I will give you a quick synopsis from a situation my wife and I worked in for a year. A woman on my praise team approached me about being abused by her husband. I asked her why she did not get help from the pastor and her response was she had gone to him multiple times. He took the guy out for coffee a few times, got the inevitable promise to improve and let it go. No follow up, no accountability. In fact, the guy was elevated to a leadership position in the church.

Anyway, things finally came to a head and she separated from him. During that time, after an initial "repentance," certain things happened and it was clear that divorce was the best option. At that point, the church (which had basically ignored the situation to that point) got involved. They told her that SHE would face church discipline because she would not forgive "70x7" and not reconcile with her "brother."

I was in the room watching this stupidity. This by the way was a BJU-style church. The pastor that initially handled it was a BJU grad though he resigned halfway through that period. When the deacons/elders dropped that on her, she stood up and resigned her membership. My wife and I stood up and resigned our membership as well. 

That was the start of my being skeptical of a church's way to handle this but it was only the start. When I started writing about it, dozens (maybe hundreds) of women contacted me and told me their story. In practically every situation, the abuser "repented" and convinced the leadership he had changed. Then the leadership would side against the woman and pressure her to reconcile. 

The problem is not just in fundamentalist circles. It is across all of the more conservative denominations and non-denominational churches. In fact, one of them was at the same church (Village) that we are discussing here. 

Women that go to a pastor with stories of abuse should be taken seriously. They should not be pressured to return to that house regardless of what the abuser spins. That is all I am saying when I say an abuse victim should be believed. 

Jay's picture

That is exactly my experience as well.  As a matter of fact, in one case I know, the husband is still leading the church's worship team at least 1x a month.  The church is solidly on his side of the entire mess.

Here's how it is presented: He has repented and promised to do better.  Her problem is a refusal to submit to his leadership, a refusal to submit to the authority of this church, and a hard-hearted and rebellious attitude that demands we discipline her for her own spiritual good.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Jay wrote:

That is exactly my experience as well.  As a matter of fact, in one case I know, the husband is still leading the church's worship team at least 1x a month.  The church is solidly on his side of the entire mess.

Here's how it is presented: He has repented and promised to do better.  Her problem is a refusal to submit to his leadership, a refusal to submit to the authority of this church, and a hard-hearted and rebellious attitude that demands we discipline her for her own spiritual good.

The situations you are Greg are describing both sound like they were handled badly, but handling them well does not include assuming that the accuser is telling the truth and assuming the accused is guilty.

Even if everything is taken to the civil authorities, what happens if the case is dropped for lack of evidence, or the accused is judged not guilty?  Should the accuser face church discipline?  Should the accused be fully restored?  What if the accuser sticks to his/her story in spite of the judgment of the courts?  This isn't going to be clean whatever happens, but assuming the guilt of the accused before hearing evidence or after a judgment of not guilty is still the wrong way to handle it.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

  • Even if everything is taken to the civil authorities, what happens if the case is dropped for lack of evidence, or the accused is judged not guilty?

I've never seen this happen.  It would be an interesting situation, but in every case I have personally seen, the accuser was vindicated.

  • Should the accuser face church discipline?

My position is that church discipline begins with and runs consecutively with the legal proceedings.  A failure to repent and be reconciled with the spouse (as per Matthew 18) would result in grounds for divorce as per 1 Cor. 7 (he has departed the faith and the surviving spouse is free in the Lord to remarry).  A refusal to repent and forsake abuse permits the continuation of the discipline process.  Half-way repentance and crocodile tears are do not constitute true repentance and should not be interpreted as such.

These situations are hard and messy.  

  • Should the accused be fully restored? 

If they have demonstrated fruits in keeping with repentance, are fully accountable for their actions, if they abused party believes that, and more.  Again, you must proceed with caution.  

  • What if the accuser sticks to his/her story in spite of the judgment of the courts?

Then you have to worry about two things - "why did the court verdict come in the way it did?" (was there a lack of evidence or something like this?), and "is it possible that the abuse victim is harboring bitterness and hatred in their own hearts".  I have not dealt with this in my time. 

That's a huge issue that requires a lot of careful consideration and discernment.  Like I said, these situations are hard.

This isn't going to be clean whatever happens, but assuming the guilt of the accused before hearing evidence or after a judgment of not guilty is still the wrong way to handle it.

I think this phrasing is not helpful and is confusing, although most people use it.  I can't think of a better way to phrase things or I'd offer a substitution.

This isn't about 'assuming the guilt' of anyone.  It's about making sure that the person who is being abused is safe and is protected while the government can step in and do its job of investigating and prosecuting whomever necessary.

Now in a case like Larry Nassar or the late Jeffery Epstein - is it wrong to assume guilt on the basis of the evidence presented prior to the trial?  I am not sure that it is.

Epstein will never get a day in court again, but there's certainly overwhelming evidence that he was in fact guilty of raping minors, running a sex trafficking ring, and more.  Larry Nassar was arrested when they found several hard drives with child pornography on them, which is hard to dispute.  I think that on the basis of the evidence provided, it is legitimate for Christians to assume moral guilt. Legally they are still innocent until proven guilty and deserve a chance (as per the Constitution) to mount a legal defense and prove innocence.

Is that clearer or more helpful?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

If a woman is abused by her husband in a criminal manner, she should go to the police and report the crime. PERIOD. Even if her church excommunicates her.... A pastor has NO AUTHORITY to "order her" to return to an abusive husband. PERIOD. If a pastor recommends she return, and she does, that is her choice.

No church nor any pastor is above the law, nor should they council a woman to ignore the law. Grace, mercy and forgiveness are choices that are separate from the legal system. I can forgive someone for committing a crime against me while reporting the crime and testifying against them in court.

If a leader has spousal issues where the other is thinking of leaving, that leader should at a minimum be suspended from their leadership to work on their marriage relationship. If that causes him to "go off the deep end," so be it. Then you know the truth.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Jay wrote:

I've never seen this happen.  It would be an interesting situation, but in every case I have personally seen, the accuser was vindicated.

I'm not against giving an accuser protection until things can be sorted out legally.  There's no doubt that certain actions to keep both parties separate would be warranted, but it's this thinking expressed here that I find problematic -- you've never seen a a personal case of the accused being vindicated, so it's almost as if you won't consider it because it seems you don't believe anyone could ever be falsely accused of this crime, recent political history notwithstanding.

I'll agree that uncovered evidence can cause us to come to our own verdicts before the official one, and in a church situation, we might have to take temporary action until the case is sorted out and there is an actual verdict (like a suspension).  However, if a person makes an accusation of abuse, and the spouse denies it, and there's no obvious physical evidence that comes to light, or even if there is some but it's unknown until it comes out at trial, you can't judge "moral" guilt based only an an accusation.  Full stop.  The accuser's charges still need to be taken seriously, and given to the proper authorities, but if they cannot be proven, there is no need for the accused to admit to anything, take responsibility, or any other action on his or her part to be worthy of full restoration.  I don't know that in a "he said, she said" case I'd be willing to go as far as to enact church discipline on an accuser whose case was dropped or ended in a not guilty verdict, since I wouldn't have proof that he or she lied, but there's no way I'd expect the accused in that situation to live under a cloud of guilt either.

Dave Barnhart

GregH's picture

dcbii wrote:

I'm not against giving an accuser protection until things can be sorted out legally, but it's this attitude expressed here that I find problematic -- you've never seen a a personal case of the accused being vindicated, so it's almost as if you won't consider it because it seems you don't believe anyone could ever be falsely accused of this crime, recent political history notwithstanding.

I'll agree that uncovered evidence can cause us to come to our own verdicts before the official one, and in a church situation, we might have to take temporary action until the case is sorted out and there is an actual verdict (like a suspension).  However, if a person makes an accusation of abuse, and the spouse denies it, and there's no obvious physical evidence that comes to light, you can't judge "moral" guilt based only an an accusation.  Full stop.  The accuser's charges still need to be taken seriously, and given to the proper authorities, but if they cannot be proven, there is no need for the accused to admit to anything, take responsibility, or any other action on his or her part to be worthy of full restoration.  I don't know that in a "he said, she said" case I'd be willing to go as far as to enact church discipline on an accuser whose case was dropped or ended in a not guilty verdict, since I wouldn't have proof that he or she lied, but there's no way I'd expect the accused in that situation to live under a cloud of guilt either.

The issue of what a church should do in a case where there is no proof and/or there is a not-guilty verdict is an interesting one. I am glad that it is being talked about.

Here is what I would say. A church should not initiate church discipline against someone claiming abuse simply because she does not enough proof for a legal conviction. Nor should a church try to force reconciliation in such cases. Maybe the thing they should do is simply nothing. At least that would be better than taking the wrong side.

 

Jay's picture

I'm not against giving an accuser protection until things can be sorted out legally. 

That's good. Smile

There's no doubt that certain actions to keep both parties separate would be warranted, but it's this thinking expressed here that I find problematic -- you've never seen a a personal case of the accused being vindicated, so it's almost as if you won't consider it because it seems you don't believe anyone could ever be falsely accused of this crime, recent political history notwithstanding.

Well, I have never claimed to be "the" expert on these things, so I can only speak about situations I've personally dealt with.  I'll happily admit that there are false accusations (Duke Lacrosse, anyone?), but the statistics are very clear that most abuse/rape cases go unreported and even fewer actually make it to the criminal justice system and a minimal amount of offenders wind up in prison. The stigmas and penalties for reporting abuse or rape are simply too high. 

Here are some links that may be helpful - Aaron Blumer had a helpful post about the reasons why cases aren't reported in a different thread on SI.  Psychology Today has another helpful article at their website, and Rachael Denhollander linked to a fascinating but horrifying article in The Atlantic a while ago.  I have a different story somewhere about how a 15 year old was forced to plead guilty for filing a false report when she reported her own rape.  She was eventually cleared when they caught her rapist more than a decade later; if/when I find that story, I'll link to that as well.

I can't find the specific stats, but these (from the National Institute for Justice) may be helpful:

The majority of sexual assaults are not reported to the authorities.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that the majority of rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated against women and girls in the United States between 1992 and 2000 were not reported to the police. Only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults were reported. [3] Reasons for not reporting assault vary among individuals, but one study identified the following as common: [4]

  • Self-blame or guilt
  • Shame, embarrassment, or desire to keep the assault a private matter.
  • Humiliation or fear of the perpetrator or other individual's perceptions.
  • Fear of not being believed or of being accused of playing a role in the crime.
  • Lack of trust in the criminal justice system.

In the NIJ funded Sexual Assault Among Latinas Study (SALAS), it was found that victims did not commonly seek help from the criminal justice system, but did seek informal sources of help such as family and friends. However, one third of the women included in the study did not report their victimization to anyone.

I'm happy to pray that these cases aren't what they appear to be or even are what they may be initially presented as, but the odds are against you.  The traditional story of a woman showing up with a black eye and bruises is one of the easier and more obvious cases to handle, but I've never had one that clear cut in the fifteen years or so I've had to deal with this.  Maybe you'll be lucky and you'll get a case like that.  Odds are, you won't.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

This is the story I referred to in my last post. It is long, disturbing, and graphic.  Please read it carefully and think about what this young woman went through.

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/16/an-unbelievable-story-of-rape

Here's the last story I'll link to for now.  I hope that the readers of this site will think about what they read.

What kind of person makes false rape accusations?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Jay, I can see myself that at least from the statistics, there are more true abuse cases that don't go reported than false accusations.  All I'm saying is that if the cases are handed over to the civil authorities rather than being handled internally (and I agree that churches should scrupulously follow the laws on reporting, etc.), the church also has no basis to then treat the accused as guilty until the civil case comes to some sort of conclusion.  Actions to keep both parties apart and protect them and the testimonies of all involved may be necessary (i.e temporary removal from church responsibilities, etc.), but they should not lead anyone to a conclusion on guilt that is officially supported by the church until the case is resolved.

In other words, in our zealousness to do right by those who suffer abuse, we cannot just tell ourselves that false accusations are so rare that any innocent accused can be safely thrown under the bus.  It might seem unjust to an accuser that the accused is treated as not guilty until a resolution, but that is what must happen.  We do need to make sure that accusers are loved and that we consider their charges seriously, but that support cannot include any action against the accused that would assume or imply guilt.  In the end, it doesn't matter which party is the stronger and which the weaker, and which has more authority or respect in the church.  In judging, we are not to be respecters of persons.  Facts matter.

As Greg mentioned, if the case ends up being resolved in a way that does not end up with a guilty verdict for the accused, perhaps all the church can do is nothing.  If both accused and accuser maintain that they are telling the truth, and there are no witnesses for the church to consult before making a judgment, then the church cannot take disciplinary action (for either party).  I have never seen a spousal abuse case in any church I have attended, and I hope not to, but if one ended like this, I would suspect that one or both parties would leave the church anyway, since a "cloud of suspicion" would probably never go away.  But neither should have to leave because the church has violated principles of sound judgment in handling the case.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

I think you and I are a lot closer, Dave, than it may appear.  Let me ask you this, because I see a contradiction here that I'm not fully able to resolve either:

the church also has no basis to then treat the accused as guilty until the civil case comes to some sort of conclusion. 

I agree with that. So how do you not treat the accused as guilty when you have to do things like:

Actions to keep both parties apart and protect them and the testimonies of all involved may be necessary (i.e temporary removal from church responsibilities, etc.), but they should not lead anyone to a conclusion on guilt that is officially supported by the church until the case is resolved.

So if a woman says that her husband is abusing her while he is also teaching Sunday School or working as a deacon, etc...how is it necessary to remove them from their responsibilities without indicating that he's guilty?

I would say it's a necessary step given the gravity of the situation, but others say that I'm really saying that he is guilty by doing that.  So what is the best way to proceed? 

Furthermore, your post completely sidesteps (which I don't think is intentional) the situation that has been discussed earlier in this thread, where the pastor either refuses to get involved, insists on doing his own investigation first, or (as is most common) believes that the abusing spouse is serious and repentant and then disciplines the woman out for a hard-heart or failure to submit or failure to forgive and compounds the problems.

I don't think we disagree on the basics (get the police involved, separate the partners, etc).  I think we need to think harder about how we approach the topic, victims, and how (maybe what is a better term) the church addresses it.  

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Jay wrote:

I agree with that. So how do you not treat the accused as guilty when you have to do things like:

Actions to keep both parties apart and protect them and the testimonies of all involved may be necessary (i.e temporary removal from church responsibilities, etc.), but they should not lead anyone to a conclusion on guilt that is officially supported by the church until the case is resolved.

So if a woman says that her husband is abusing her while he is also teaching Sunday School or working as a deacon, etc...how is it necessary to remove them from their responsibilities without indicating that he's guilty?

I would say it's a necessary step given the gravity of the situation, but others say that I'm really saying that he is guilty by doing that.  So what is the best way to proceed?

While it may seem unfair to one or both parties, I think both should be removed from special responsibilities while the case is under investigation.  As I said before, this would be a lot like a police suspension, not a judgment of guilt.  When this action is taken, you probably can't get away from accusations of prejudging guilt, but really all you are doing is being extra careful to protect the testimony of the church (and the parties involved) by realizing that while accusations are in process, there is no longer perceived "blamelessness" of the parties.  I think both can still function as general members of the church, but it protects everyone involved to have any leadership, teaching, childcare, etc. responsibilities be suspended until resolution.  And by having a policy to treat accuser and accused equally until resolution, you are helping to protect the church from accusations of prejudgment.

I can't speak for others, but as I am currently a deacon, if I were accused of something criminal, even if I staunchly believe in and maintain my innocence, I would not only step down if asked, I would proactively resign from that position or any other leadership responsibilities, to make sure that everything is above board for the church.  If someone wants to take that as an admission of guilt, they can, but I can't help what they would think.  Until I was judged not guilty or the case is dropped, I would not be able to claim blamelessness as I understand it from scripture.

Quote:

Furthermore, your post completely sidesteps (which I don't think is intentional) the situation that has been discussed earlier in this thread, where the pastor either refuses to get involved, insists on doing his own investigation first, or (as is most common) believes that the abusing spouse is serious and repentant and then disciplines the woman out for a hard-heart or failure to submit or failure to forgive and compounds the problems.

I don't think I'm sidestepping that at all.  The pastor/church should not insist on doing the investigation first, if to follow the law, the civil authorities must be immediately involved.  However, that shouldn't prevent the church from fulfilling its biblical duties to attempt to find out what happened in any ways that do not impede or run afoul of the governmental authorities doing their jobs.  And believing only one side before the facts are in is foolish, as we are told in Proverbs.

As far as repentance, everyone has to make their own judgment call as to whether they believe true repentance has taken place, but any judgment made by the church is not at all in place of whatever civil judgment is required by law.  Both civil and church authorities have their places.  And I would say that while we are commanded to forgive someone who asks genuine forgiveness, for some serious crimes and/or breaking of relationships (i.e. abuse, adultery), then I don't personally believe that forgiveness requires trust or resumption of a relationship, and I personally would not be part of a church that required that relationship to immediately be treated as restored simply due to the offender asking for forgiveness.

Then again, I also don't believe a church should require someone judged not guilty of abuse who maintained their innocence to immediately resume a relationship where the accuser either never admits to false accusation, or admits to false accusation and simply asks for forgiveness.  Trust is earned, not simply required, and broken relationships are not fixed by simply jamming them back together.

Dave Barnhart

Larry's picture

Moderator

To argue that "believing the victim" is to align yourself with demonic powers and principalities and also demands summary judgment without evidence and without a fair trial is specious and deceitful.  It's a sinful misrepresentation of their position that automatically assumes not just evil intent, but Satanic influence.  

I am not sure you are being fair to Wilson's position. I know you don't like him so I think that might color your view a bit. His position appears clearly to be that he believes that people like Rachel and Boz are arguing for a system of justice that is not just. The the accused are considered guilty by virtue of accusation rather than evaluation of the evidence. "Believe the victim" requires that, does it not? His "principalities and powers" seems a reference to a system of justice that ignores biblical guidelines for establishing guilt. Is it satanic? Yes, in the sense that is not a biblical system of justice. 

What do you say about a system to justice that declares someone to be guilty without discovering evidence, without interviewing people, and without cross examination? Surely you would agree that is not just. You have said as much. Yet when Wilson says that, it seems you reject it. 

What "believing the victim" means is that we act in accordance that the abuse happened and that we get the police and courts involved so that the crime can be properly adjudicated. 

I think this is exactly the problem. By "act[ing] in accordance that the abuse happened" you are assuming what should have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. "Believing the victim," as you say here, does not establish one fact until there has been an investigation. This is what Wilson is saying. You actually have to investigate and pursue the case before you can declare that "the abuse happened" and determine who the victim is. Once the accusation has been made, there is a victim. It is necessary to determine who that victim is--whether the accuser who was abused or the alleged perpetrator who was falsely accused. There is a victim. It takes work to figure out who it is. What part of that do you disagree with?

 haven't heard CP on this, so i won't comment on them. 

I think what we should tell victims is "I hear you and I take you seriously. Let's report this to the police." To believe before you hear the other side is one of the Proverbs indications of being a fool. 

I haven't looked into it {the TVC case] too much, but Denhollander has very little to do with that case.

Did you see the video? Rachel injected herself into it by condemning TVC for doing what the police detective apparently told them to do. (I say "apparently" in case Chandler is mispeaking). Denhollander said TVC failed to do right because they didn't identify the person. Chandler says that the detective told them not to identify the person because it could jeopardize the investigation. That video is an interesting juxtaposition. Since Rachel is an attorney and a victim, she should know that you follow police instructions. If Chandler is correct in what he is saying, Rachel is wrong on that case, I believe. I don't think you reject the instructions of the police and do you own thing anyway. 

BTW, isn't that the problem from the other side? That people blame churches for rejecting law enforcement and handling it themelves? Now, you have a leading advocate telling a church that they should have rejected law enforcement and handled it themselves. 

I symphathize with Rachel and grieve for the sin against her. I am grateful for her testimony. However, that doesn't give her a free pass. 

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