Sacrificing of Souls for the Sake of the Institution

Boz Tchividjian recently joined Janet Mefferd on her show to discuss sexual abuse in the evangelical church.

Evangelical Sex Abuse Record 'Worse' Than Catholic, Says Billy Graham's Grandson Boz Tchividijian

Last week the Associated Baptist Press reported on Paige Patterson's remarks to seminary students:
There’s no room in the church for whistleblowers, a Southern Baptist seminary president said in a chapel sermon Oct. 15.
Patterson goes on to say:
Patterson said the reason grievances between church members wind up in court or the media is: “If I appeal to the church elders, if I appeal to the church congregation as a whole in the matter where I have been offended, where I’ve been misused and abused and misrepresented, if I appeal to them they may not get it right. What do I do if the church makes a mistake?”
“But even if it’s the saved of the Lord Jesus, we still live in mortal bodies; we still can make mistakes,” he said. “The church of the Living God may very well make a mistake, and Paul anticipates it and says: ‘You don’t understand. You still don’t go to the court. Why don’t you learn to just accept wrong, just to accept injustice?’”
Just accept wrong? Just to accept injustice?

This is so typical of their mindset. I've learned this firsthand. Southern Baptist leaders continue to bury their heads in the sand, silencing the wounded, enabling the perpetrators of abuse and endangering kids in their churches. Like my dad told my husband in a phone call, "You and Amy are going to pay a big price for what has been done here." He was referring to my interview on WFAA, embedded below. That seems to be the Prestonwood and SBC way, bully into silence.


Thanks to this report by Brett Shipp and WFAA, the story then began airing in Jackson, MS in Aug. 2011. That next week, one of Langworthy’s victims (abused from age 9-13) went to the police. The press reported that and then 4 more victims had the courage to come forward. Langworthy pled guilty in Jan. 2013. 
Paige Patterson must really think that NBC Charlotte is evil for this report on Steven Furtick's 16,000 square foot "not that great" house. 
Many churches believe at least elders or deacons should set the pastor's salary. But at Elevation, it’s a closely guarded secret. Wednesday night at 6 p.m., the I-Team reports on the men who set Steven Furtick's salary. None of them are members of Elevation Church. 
Part 2: Pastor's salary set by board, not congregation

According to the Charlotte Observer, one of these men on the board who sets Furtick's salary and serves as his "mentor" is pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church.
Corbett would not divulge Furtick’s salary, which is set not by a group of lay members of the church, but by a board of five out-of-town pastors. Furtick is also on the board, but doesn’t vote on his salary, Corbett said. These out-of-town board members are friends and mentors to Furtick and, like him, lead growing megachurches. They include Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C., and Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist in Plano, Texas.

This board bases Furtick’s salary, Corbett said, on a “compensation study formulated by an attorney’s office” that’s not tied to the church.

Read more here:

This One Time, I Refused to Stop Talking About Abuse by Tamara Rice
Can I be honest with you? I’m angry today. I’m sick to death of people equating exposing sin in the Church with slandering Christ’s bride. I’m sick to death of people equating exposing sin in the Church with hindering the gospel. I’m sick to death of people equating exposing sin in the Church with tarnishing our “witness” in the world.
Because my God despises hypocrisy and hidden sins. My God despises pride. My God despises the harming of those who are vulnerable. He showed us over and over and over again in the Old Testament—in ways that are so vivid they make some cringe and look the other way when these stories are told in church—that He does not abide these things in His people.
He does not abide these things in His people.
So I will not be silenced. I will not be belittled as bitter or marginalized as divisive. I will not be quiet so that you don’t have to feel uncomfortable when you scroll through your Twitter feed. I will not be told to watch my tone with you, the patriarchy of fundamentalist evangelical Christendom, because too many of you are failing miserably at your self-proclaimed calling and it is time you listened to people who are not on your payroll. I will not stop talking, even though so few—so few—in the church will take the time to listen.
A few months ago, I wrote about being chastised as an abuse advocate by a pastor at our church at the time, Houston's First Baptist Church.  Someone at Houston's First Baptist, Prestonwood Baptist, or the executive staff of the SBC called the Houston police about our plans to hold an awareness event outside the 2013 annual meeting at the George R. Brown convention center in Houston. After this, my husband requested a meeting at HFBC with head pastor Gregg Matte. They were joined by Doug Bischoff, the pastor that called to chastise me, and a deacon. Before that meeting, Gregg Matte told my husband that he didn't want anything said in the meeting "to end up on a blog." My husband told them all in that meeting, that they should have no problem having cameras there recording every word. Why the secrecy? Why would they not want the whole world to know that they will not stand for child sexual abuse being covered up? Or do they want the darkness and silence surrounding child sex abuse in the church to continue, like Paige Patterson encourages by his comments?

I never received a phone call or email from Gregg Matte. I only have my impressions of his meeting with my husband to go on. While Gregg Matte did express outrage over child sexual abuse, it seems there was a lot of outrage over protecting the image of Houston's First Baptist after this story appeared in the Associated Baptist Press.

Coming out of the shunning and rejection by my own parents and the Baptist institution, I am finding strength of heart, and clarity, like I’m coming out of a fog I didn’t know I was in, even a few years into speaking out about Langworthy and the abuse covered up at Prestonwood for decades.
As I've been thinking about the hurtful words and attitude by Paige Patterson and other leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, how depressing it is that he’s imparting this completely un-Christ-like mindset to the next leaders of SBC churches, I realized that the reporters and bloggers that I’ve had the pleasure of communicating with have done more to help the wounded heal and protect kids than these pastors. In fact, in the many cases of child sexual abuse that I know of, it’s pastors and churches who have perpetuated the evil of abuse by covering it up.
Matthew 18:6 If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

World Magazine: The high cost of negligence

Something's terribly wrong when ESPN is calling for the truth, but the church remains silent.

Only the Truth will Save Us

So maybe it's a further truth to say that the culture of male entitlement and institutional spinelessness isn't exclusive to football. Or even to sports. Or America. After all, the only Stop Snitchin' culture tighter than that of a football team might be a street gang. Or the cops. Or the mob. Or the military. Or the BBC. Or the Catholic Church. Every one of these cases is shot through with Bronze Age sexism and bureaucratic self-preservation. Choosing sides can only be a fool's game. Rape culture is rape culture, and it doesn't matter who had how much to drink. Or who wore a surplice or a captain's bars. Rape is a rape is a rape.
The answer to which is the same in every case at every level, from the Vatican to the service academies to every jerkwater high school in America. Aptly or ironically it comes from the Executive Summary of last May's Pentagon report  on the Pentagon's own failure to address the sharp rise in sexual assault in the military.
Nothing will change until we make the reporting of rape easier and safer for victims. Until we de-stigmatize victims and stigmatize offenders, no matter how popular and no matter how far they can throw a football. Nothing will change until we hold institutions and individuals completely accountable for what they do. And for what they cover up.
These are your sons and these are your daughters and these are your sisters and brothers. We've known what to do for a long time. We've known how to stop it. Our ongoing failure, yours and mine, in football and out of it, is our cowardice.


Anonymous said…
Thank you Amy. This must not be easy. I was raped as an adult and tried to reach out to friends for support. Sadly, I only received words of encouragement from my secular friends and absolutely nothing from my "church family" at HFBC. I tried desperately to reach out to the pastor since I was a child going to that church. I've been wanting just a moment of his time to pick his brain and get some guidance. My excuse for him is that he's too busy and I should not be selfish with his time and think I'm worthy. That is wrong. He has clearly seen me in desperate situations but I get the impression that they want the "right" type of people representing their church. I will continue to pray for him. Continue your good fight Amy. Your reward is in heaven.

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