What Should the Duggar Scandal Teach the Church?

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DLCreed's picture

Deleted.  Hadn't seen the other article in which this situation was discussed.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I feel like a real fundamentalist now! I've never watched their show, and know nothing about these folks. I know they exist, in the same way I know that Neptune is a planet. It has no impact on me and I really don't care. I don't think the Duggar's have anything to teach me at all. To be honest, I think it's sleazy and distasteful for a Christian family to voluntarily make themselves fodder for reality television. 

Now, to Moore's basic point:

If the church does not cooperate with the law, and with the police power of the law, in protecting the vulnerable, the church is in defiance against the ordinances of God himself.

Anybody who refuses to contact the authorities out of some pathetic fear or conviction that these things can be handled "within the church" is a fool. Yes, I say it. A FOOL!

I had an elder abuse accusation in my church within the past year. I called the police. I explained my reasoning from the pulpit. I was challenged as to why I didn't "investigate" myself before determining if it was "necessary"" to call the police. I put my foot down firmly in response to that question and said that approach was both illegal and sinful. I didn't care then, and don't care now, whether that satisfied the doubters. Don't keep this stuff in house. Report it. If you don't, you're a fool. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Rob Fall's picture

on those that refuse or hesitate to call in the authorities in cases like this and think these cases should be handled "within the church."

  • These folks are misapplying 1 Corinthians 6:1-7.  To me the 1 Corinthians passage is dealing with civil cases not criminal ones.
  • Some are using 1 Corinthians 6 and conflating (subconsciously) the Church with Israel.  Thus, making the Church the decider on when a believer (?) should be turned over to the civil authorities.

TylerR wrote:

SNIP

Anybody who refuses to contact the authorities out of some pathetic fear or conviction that these things can be handled "within the church" is a fool. Yes, I say it. A FOOL!

I had an elder abuse accusation in my church within the past year. I called the police. I explained my reasoning from the pulpit. I was challenged as to why I didn't "investigate" myself before determining if it was "necessary"" to call the police. I put my foot down firmly in response to that question and said that approach was both illegal and sinful. I didn't care then, and don't care now, whether that satisfied the doubters. Don't keep this stuff in house. Report it. If you don't, you're a fool. 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

jimcarwest's picture

TylerR wrote:

I feel like a real fundamentalist now! I've never watched their show, and know nothing about these folks. I know they exist, in the same way I know that Neptune is a planet. It has no impact on me and I really don't care. I don't think the Duggar's have anything to teach me at all. To be honest, I think it's sleazy and distasteful for a Christian family to voluntarily make themselves fodder for reality television. 

Now, to Moore's basic point:

If the church does not cooperate with the law, and with the police power of the law, in protecting the vulnerable, the church is in defiance against the ordinances of God himself.

Anybody who refuses to contact the authorities out of some pathetic fear or conviction that these things can be handled "within the church" is a fool. Yes, I say it. A FOOL!

I had an elder abuse accusation in my church within the past year. I called the police. I explained my reasoning from the pulpit. I was challenged as to why I didn't "investigate" myself before determining if it was "necessary"" to call the police. I put my foot down firmly in response to that question and said that approach was both illegal and sinful. I didn't care then, and don't care now, whether that satisfied the doubters. Don't keep this stuff in house. Report it. If you don't, you're a fool. 

This post shows that one shouldn't speak before being informed on issues.  What's wrong with a Christian family being transparent about the way they raise children?  From all indications, they handled this matter in a perfectly legal and Christian way.  Even now, they are not excusing or justifying the behavior of their son Josh.  It is the major media that is exploiting the matter, but even so, they are showing what hypocrites they are.  They are the first to protect, shield, and cover up their own reputations, yet they rush to judgment to condemn others.  

jimcarwest's picture

This situation involved a minor child.  It had to do with fondling, not any sexual act.  Parents, counselors, and, at the appropriate time, police gave advice on the matter.  The boy accepted it as a spiritual problem and accepted moral responsibility.  Even two years before he was married, he confessed this "inexcusable action" (to use his words) with his girlfriend who would become his wife, and with her parents.  It seems to me that he was dealing responsibly with his wrongdoing.  Some would want to disqualify this young man from any position of leadership as an adult for a mistake made as a child.  Where is the quality of mercy in that approach?  How many pastors, theologians, religious leaders would be disqualified if that is the standard?  

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

jimcarwest:

Russell Moore was not writing an article about the Duggars. He was using this incident as a springboard to discuss the problem of how the church deals with sexual abuse situations in general. This is what I am doing. I don't know about the Duggars and I don't care. I don't want to talk about them. 

If you want to discuss the Duggars and all the associated details of this sad affair, then SI has a thread where all the juicy details are being debated. If you want to discuss the local church and sexual abuse reporting, then this is probably the place for you. That would be "moore to the point" (pun fully intended). 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

jimcarwest's picture

It's one thing "to discuss the problem of how the church deals wit h sexual abuse situation in general."  Seems to me that your comments went beyond that and were prefaced by comments about the Duggars doing a sleazy and distasteful thing to make their family "fodder for reality television."  Your personal feelings went over the line, IMO.  Those remarks should have been posted on "the SI thread where all the juicy details are being debated," don't you think?

 

 

DLCreed's picture

TylerR wrote:

I feel like a real fundamentalist now!.......... If you don't, you're a fool. 

Not only do you apparently "feel" like a real fundamentalist, you sound like one too.

It is naive to think that the government always knows how to handle a situation like this better than the parents.  As noted by someone else, terms are being used interchangeably in all of this, but they are not actually equivalent words.  There is a difference between adolescent experimentation, abuse, molestation, curiosity, predatory behavior, pedophilia and perversion.  This guy is now branded forever by some as a monster for the stupidest thing he ever did as a 14 year old.  Would any of us like to be held to that same standard for conduct as a young adolescent?  Do parents automatically cede their rights on handling such private matters to the authorities?  If an 9 year old plays doctor with his 7 year old cousin, should the state be immediately notified?

FTR, I'm a mandatory reporter as an educator.  I've seen what social services and over-zealous cops do to families first hand in what are somewhat common instances of prepubscent and early teen curiosity and experimentation.  Does it need to be dealt with?  Absolutely and 100% of the time.  Does every situation need the involvement of law enforcement and godless, secular social workers.  Nope. Nope. and Nope.  

You don't need to be an extremist or have a mini-bus full of kids to be rightfully wary of the "system".  Speaking in absolutist terms such as you have is as absurd as if you said, "NEVER notify the authorities."  From reading the comments from these threads, this is yet another example of over-reacting so that we can show some distance between "us" and the wicked excesses that have been brought to light by the myriad internet driven revelations of wrongfully-covered abuse in the past.  Running from one extreme to another is still extreme.

If it was YOUR son, a naive, sheltered, freshly pubescent kid who was otherwise a decent child who foolishly crossed this line, would you rush him to the police station and throw him into the arms of Child Protective Services?  The "Church" isn't the only institution of value in this whole scenario.  Mr. Moore seems to have forgotten that.

 

Joel Shaffer's picture

jimcarwest wrote:

This situation involved a minor child.  It had to do with fondling, not any sexual act.  Parents, counselors, and, at the appropriate time, police gave advice on the matter.  The boy accepted it as a spiritual problem and accepted moral responsibility.  Even two years before he was married, he confessed this "inexcusable action" (to use his words) with his girlfriend who would become his wife, and with her parents.  It seems to me that he was dealing responsibly with his wrongdoing.  Some would want to disqualify this young man from any position of leadership as an adult for a mistake made as a child.  Where is the quality of mercy in that approach?  How many pastors, theologians, religious leaders would be disqualified if that is the standard?  

 

Jim, 

Fondling is considered a sexual act.  Because It was unwanted, it took place over a year's time, and it took place with 5 younger girls (4 of which were his sisters), it was more than just a spiritual offense, it was a criminal offense.  In Michigan (not sure about Arkansas)  where I live, that is considered 4th degree criminal sexual conduct, which is a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to 2 years in jail/juvenile detention and/or up to a 500,000 fine.   I've thought about what I would have done in Jim Bob's place because I have 3 daughters (17, 12, Cool and a son (15).  I would have let my fellow Elders of our church know, and they would have reported it.   

When it comes to leadership in the church, I am about grace, but at the same time, a church has to be very discerning, above reproach, and protective of the flock, especially when it comes to sexual abuse.   I oversee a non-profit ministry that is closely connected to our church---that reaches urban youth and young adults, including gang members and drug dealers.  Many of these young men have committed felony offenses in their past (selling drugs, assault and battery, etc...) before Christ, but we are looking to eventually develop them as leaders----including deacons and elders.  Yet if those outside the church (in the hood) still held to a very negative stigma for what they did in the past, we couldn't make them elders.  

As for Josh Duggar, this is a very tricky situation.   Even though his crime took place before he had faith in Christ and when he was himself a child, he now has the reputation as a child molester  (maybe unfairly because only 5-10% of children that sexually abuse fellow children are repeat offenders).  But because his family are TV personalities, it is only magnified.  I believe he would be disqualified because of I Timothy 3:7.  "He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap."    As for the article by Moore, i believe it was balanced, Biblical, and objective.    

 

 

James K's picture

Russell Moore needed to write this article the way he did because his job is to maintain a political voice.  In other issues, he has advocated that the church basically overlook the law.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Joel Shaffer's picture

James K wrote:

Russell Moore needed to write this article the way he did because his job is to maintain a political voice.  In other issues, he has advocated that the church basically overlook the law.

 

As for why Russell Moore wrote this article, none of us know.  However, by stating that his reason for writing this particular article is because of his job, you have just appealed to motive in your argument, which is a logical fallacy.  Further, by discrediting Russell Moore's views on other issues, you may have committed the genetic fallacy.  The source of the information does not make what he said false.   

jimcarwest's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

 

jimcarwest wrote:

 

This situation involved a minor child.  It had to do with fondling, not any sexual act.  Parents, counselors, and, at the appropriate time, police gave advice on the matter.  The boy accepted it as a spiritual problem and accepted moral responsibility.  Even two years before he was married, he confessed this "inexcusable action" (to use his words) with his girlfriend who would become his wife, and with her parents.  It seems to me that he was dealing responsibly with his wrongdoing.  Some would want to disqualify this young man from any position of leadership as an adult for a mistake made as a child.  Where is the quality of mercy in that approach?  How many pastors, theologians, religious leaders would be disqualified if that is the standard?  

 

 

 

Jim, 

Fondling is considered a sexual act.  Because It was unwanted, it took place over a year's time, and it took place with 5 younger girls (4 of which were his sisters), it was more than just a spiritual offense, it was a criminal offense.  In Michigan (not sure about Arkansas)  where I live, that is considered 4th degree criminal sexual conduct, which is a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to 2 years in jail/juvenile detention and/or up to a 500,000 fine.   I've thought about what I would have done in Jim Bob's place because I have 3 daughters (17, 12, Cool and a son (15).  I would have let my fellow Elders of our church know, and they would have reported it.   

When it comes to leadership in the church, I am about grace, but at the same time, a church has to be very discerning, above reproach, and protective of the flock, especially when it comes to sexual abuse.   I oversee a non-profit ministry that is closely connected to our church---that reaches urban youth and young adults, including gang members and drug dealers.  Many of these young men have committed felony offenses in their past (selling drugs, assault and battery, etc...) before Christ, but we are looking to eventually develop them as leaders----including deacons and elders.  Yet if those outside the church (in the hood) still held to a very negative stigma for what they did in the past, we couldn't make them elders.  

As for Josh Duggar, this is a very tricky situation.   Even though his crime took place before he had faith in Christ and when he was himself a child, he now has the reputation as a child molester  (maybe unfairly because only 5-10% of children that sexually abuse fellow children are repeat offenders).  But because his family are TV personalities, it is only magnified.  I believe he would be disqualified because of I Timothy 3:7.  "He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap."    As for the article by Moore, i believe it was balanced, Biblical, and objective.    

 

 

Josh's "so-called reputation as a child molester" has been helped along by over-the-top interpretations and charges helped along by some on this website.  Frankly, I think it is time to shut this down.  It is getting out of hand.  It is no longer a place to publish treatises on sexual abuse, but a place to interject accusations that may or may not have anything to do with the case.  The little girls are adults now.  They can now address for themselves any harm they received and seek any damages the law may allow them. We should respect their choice.  It doesn't help for John-Q Public to try Josh Duggar in a kangaroo court and turn him into the worst criminal who even yet ought to be imprisoned and suffer years for something he did as a young teen.  Tragic cases similar to this have gone on since time immemorial amongst siblings, cousins and close neighbors. Parents have dealt with it.  It is tragic, but somehow people get through it.  They manage to put it behind them and go on to live productive and useful lives.  Everyone should have legal recourse when they desire to press charges, but no one should accept victim status, though they may need counseling, support, and ample love to get through it.  Each one should deal with it in the way they feel the most comfortable.  Quite often, having suffered some injustice becomes an impetus for the injured person to address those injustices and empathize with others in a way that they too are healed.  It think of the words of Joseph, who suffered a great injustice as a child from his siblings:  "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, to bring it to pass, to save much people" (Genesis 50:20).  

jimcarwest's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

 

jimcarwest wrote:

 

This situation involved a minor child.  It had to do with fondling, not any sexual act.  Parents, counselors, and, at the appropriate time, police gave advice on the matter.  The boy accepted it as a spiritual problem and accepted moral responsibility.  Even two years before he was married, he confessed this "inexcusable action" (to use his words) with his girlfriend who would become his wife, and with her parents.  It seems to me that he was dealing responsibly with his wrongdoing.  Some would want to disqualify this young man from any position of leadership as an adult for a mistake made as a child.  Where is the quality of mercy in that approach?  How many pastors, theologians, religious leaders would be disqualified if that is the standard?  

 

 

 

Jim, 

Fondling is considered a sexual act.  Because It was unwanted, it took place over a year's time, and it took place with 5 younger girls (4 of which were his sisters), it was more than just a spiritual offense, it was a criminal offense.  In Michigan (not sure about Arkansas)  where I live, that is considered 4th degree criminal sexual conduct, which is a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to 2 years in jail/juvenile detention and/or up to a 500,000 fine.   I've thought about what I would have done in Jim Bob's place because I have 3 daughters (17, 12, Cool and a son (15).  I would have let my fellow Elders of our church know, and they would have reported it.   

When it comes to leadership in the church, I am about grace, but at the same time, a church has to be very discerning, above reproach, and protective of the flock, especially when it comes to sexual abuse.   I oversee a non-profit ministry that is closely connected to our church---that reaches urban youth and young adults, including gang members and drug dealers.  Many of these young men have committed felony offenses in their past (selling drugs, assault and battery, etc...) before Christ, but we are looking to eventually develop them as leaders----including deacons and elders.  Yet if those outside the church (in the hood) still held to a very negative stigma for what they did in the past, we couldn't make them elders.  

As for Josh Duggar, this is a very tricky situation.   Even though his crime took place before he had faith in Christ and when he was himself a child, he now has the reputation as a child molester  (maybe unfairly because only 5-10% of children that sexually abuse fellow children are repeat offenders).  But because his family are TV personalities, it is only magnified.  I believe he would be disqualified because of I Timothy 3:7.  "He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap."    As for the article by Moore, i believe it was balanced, Biblical, and objective.    

 

 

 JOEL:  

The victims have not spoken. They are all adults now. When they report what was done to them, then we can all have an opinion and take sides on the issue. We know only what Josh has told us. There has been a lot of conjecture here, a lot of so-called explicit detail imposed upon the little we know. The so-called crime has become the most heinous it can be by people who know very little about the case. Some have assumed that there was rape, penetration, and violence. Much of what we are reading comes from those who have been violated and who seem to be imposing on this case all the shock and hurt they have experienced themselves. One can understand this and even sympathize, but it appears we are going beyond the facts of the Duggar case in an attempt to reopen a case that was long ago closed, legally speaking. Now there are some who are suggesting that Josh molested girls because he was himself molested. Next thing we know, by conjecture some family member will be implicated. It’s like gossip: it can’t be stopped once it is started. We should put an end to using Josh Duggar as a whipping post for all the complaints we hear about molestation. It is an abhorrent sin. Who in their right mind can justify it, but it is a forgivable sin. The victims and perpetrators have to deal with it — the former by finding God’s grace sufficient for the offense, and the latter by applying God’s grace to overcome the shame and any punishment meted out. In the final analysis, justice must run its course, and we don’t need any “kangaroo courts” to perform that function. When human justice fails, there is the all-righteous Judge Who will set all things right one day. It is our task to defend the weak, to rebuke and hold accountable the unrepentant, and to encourage each one to roll our burdens upon the One who promises to sustain us in all life’s trials. He is Able! 

jimcarwest's picture

JOEL: your discussion of the Duggar topic has clearly gone beyond the pale.  You have begun to make personal attacks on the Duggars and by inference on  other parties to the discussion.  Your recent rant clearly shows this.  I copy here to demonstrate my point.  I recommend you drop the argument because of your demeaning statements.  You seem to be incapable of discussing a topic without taking it to the personal level.  In my opinion this is not what SharperIron is all about.

"Josh Duggar resigns from Family Research Council after sexual abuse allegations" - - - - =JC and Mark= If the opinion of Joel me and these young ladies is something in dispute than you have sided on the wrong side. This is clear as a man who robs a Bank and commits murder in the process and the evidence is overwhelming that he did it.  Mark is obviously a big home schooler who would most likely look down in judgment of me or any other christian  sending their children to public school.  That's christianity by rules ie legalism.  The Duggars are hypocrites.  They practice the same legalism that It appears Mark practices.  What Jim  Bob Did and the church elders did with Josh is wrong sinful and criminal.  Just because they escaped Justice like OJ Simpson did does not change what they did.  Sean Hannity made the comment at least Josh was not gay.  Again I say I wish he was gay at least no innocents would have been harmed.    You talk like Josh did not do what he did.  He admitted it it.  The facts are not in dispute.  The issue to me is are fundemental Baptist Christians going to stop living by rules.  How long is her skirt.  We can't have boys and girls swimming together.  They can't kiss until their engaged.  They can't listen to music.  These are spirituality by rules that's what the Duggars and Gothards whole operation runs by.  Look where that got Gothard and the Duggars.   If anything Gothard and the Duggars have driven people away from Christ.  You say sharper iron is bad.   I say Sharper iron is allowing the right edge to be out on the sword for fundemental Baptist Christians so they don't let legalism dominate their lives and serve the Lord out of love not hate. I know our country is under attack by Satan and as voters and American citizens we should vote our hearts and stand up for or rights but that does not mean you spew hate at everyone.  I saw a sign on a Christian Korean church on my way home it said Don't just talk Christ walk Christ.  The Duggars have clearly only talked not walked. When your spewing hate about gays and have been a serial child sex abuser yourself.  That's hypocritical.  If anything he should have a loving heart toward gays since Josh himself struggled and seek to love them and lead them to the Lord.  Christ can change all things and his Holy Spirit can convict and change lives.  This is what Billy Graham believed and practiced. 

JC's picture

When we signed up for an account we agreed to certain posting requirements.   Does that not mean anything?  Where are the moderators?  

Joel Shaffer's picture

Jim and JC you are confusing me with JoeB.  I didn't accuse the Duggars of legalism and the Duggars being hypocrites.   In all of my posts, which are only a few, I have refrained from any name calling whatsoever.  The only thing that I have insinuated was that there was a coverup with the authorities.  Nothing else.  Please check the posts more carefully before you accuse me of being a troll and going beyond the pale and other stuff.   

Greg Long's picture

C'mon, Jim and JC, look a little more carefully. JoeB (who uses only the first initial of his last name, has no picture, and has a writing style that leaves much to be desired) isn't hard to distinguish from Joel Shaffer (who uses his entire last name, has a picture, and writes clearly).

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

JC's picture

Sorry for the confusion Joel.   It is JoeB that needs to go.

jimcarwest's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

Jim and JC you are confusing me with JoeB.  I didn't accuse the Duggars of legalism and the Duggars being hypocrites.   In all of my posts, which are only a few, I have refrained from any name calling whatsoever.  The only thing that I have insinuated was that there was a coverup with the authorities.  Nothing else.  Please check the posts more carefully before you accuse me of being a troll and going beyond the pale and other stuff.   

 Joel: I was very careless and inattentive to detail in confusing you wth JOEB.  I apologize.  I hope JOEB will see this post & go back and read what I thought  was writing to him.  In Reply on my phone I got confused.  Please acknowledge this email.

jimcarwest's picture

jimcarwest wrote:

JOEL: your discussion of the Duggar topic has clearly gone beyond the pale.  You have begun to make personal attacks on the Duggars and by inference on  other parties to the discussion.  Your recent rant clearly shows this.  I copy here to demonstrate my point.  I recommend you drop the argument because of your demeaning statements.  You seem to be incapable of discussing a topic without taking it to the personal level.  In my opinion this is not what SharperIron is all about.

"Josh Duggar resigns from Family Research Council after sexual abuse allegations" - - - - =JC and Mark= If the opinion of Joel me and these young ladies is something in dispute than you have sided on the wrong side. This is clear as a man who robs a Bank and commits murder in the process and the evidence is overwhelming that he did it.  Mark is obviously a big home schooler who would most likely look down in judgment of me or any other christian  sending their children to public school.  That's christianity by rules ie legalism.  The Duggars are hypocrites.  They practice the same legalism that It appears Mark practices.  What Jim  Bob Did and the church elders did with Josh is wrong sinful and criminal.  Just because they escaped Justice like OJ Simpson did does not change what they did.  Sean Hannity made the comment at least Josh was not gay.  Again I say I wish he was gay at least no innocents would have been harmed.    You talk like Josh did not do what he did.  He admitted it it.  The facts are not in dispute.  The issue to me is are fundemental Baptist Christians going to stop living by rules.  How long is her skirt.  We can't have boys and girls swimming together.  They can't kiss until their engaged.  They can't listen to music.  These are spirituality by rules that's what the Duggars and Gothards whole operation runs by.  Look where that got Gothard and the Duggars.   If anything Gothard and the Duggars have driven people away from Christ.  You say sharper iron is bad.   I say Sharper iron is allowing the right edge to be out on the sword for fundemental Baptist Christians so they don't let legalism dominate their lives and serve the Lord out of love not hate. I know our country is under attack by Satan and as voters and American citizens we should vote our hearts and stand up for or rights but that does not mean you spew hate at everyone.  I saw a sign on a Christian Korean church on my way home it said Don't just talk Christ walk Christ.  The Duggars have clearly only talked not walked. When your spewing hate about gays and have been a serial child sex abuser yourself.  That's hypocritical.  If anything he should have a loving heart toward gays since Josh himself struggled and seek to love them and lead them to the Lord.  Christ can change all things and his Holy Spirit can convict and change lives.  This is what Billy Graham believed and practiced. 

 This post was meant for JOEB and mistakenly posted to JOEL.  Apologies