It’s occasionally difficult to distill any book, particularly one of this weight, into words. This is a book that should never have needed to be written, and it is one of the most powerfully affecting books that I’ve ever read. This book is deeply challenging, and it is entirely possible to experience a huge range of emotions while reading it; I routinely cycled through anger, frustration, compassion, joy, and sadness as I turned pages in it. There are more than a few times when I had to put the book down and walk away from it simply because it was too emotionally demanding to continue reading, as this subject generally is. Other passages, particularly near the end, moved me to tears.
SWBTS President "Greenway responded to a personal injury lawsuit that alleges "Jane Roe" was forcibly raped at gunpoint on at least three occasions from October 2014 through April 2015 by a fellow student with an extensive criminal history who also was employed as an SWBTS plumber." - BPNews
"More than 12,000 Boy Scout members have been victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of 7,819 allegedly sexually abusive troop leaders and volunteers, according to an analysis of long-held records in the organization known as the 'perversion files.'” - Christian Post
The links and phone numbers below are a sample of what’s available for better understanding, preventing, and responding to sexual abuse in a church setting. The intent is to help individuals who may not be good at googling get a head start on their research.
Disclaimer: Though most of these are well-recognized sources of information, the resources here are gathered, not necessarily recommended. If you’re aware of additional or better resources, do please let us know in the comments (or, if you’re too shy, the contact form).
Resources similar to these are probably available in your city, county, or state.
Over the last several years we’ve seen steadily-increasing attention to the problem of sexual abuse in independent Baptist (or baptistic) churches and ministries. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram investigation into independent fundamental Baptist churches last December was big news. The Houston Chronicle series on Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches two weeks ago was huge.
Given that the problem can no longer be ignored, how should independent churches respond?
Independent churches are free of denominational control for a reason, and it isn’t because they want to get away with poor ethics or because they see no value in connecting with other churches and ministries. At some point in time—though possibly long, long ago—each of these congregations examined the Scriptures and came to the conclusion that they must retain the power to govern their own affairs and control their own relationships with other entities. I’ve written previously on why churches believe the New Testament requires this kind of autonomy.
Agree or disagree, this is not a matter for casual dismissal or vague disparaging of churches’ motives. It’s a matter of conscience and conviction.