A Word About The Recent Investigation Report on Sexual Abuse in the SBC

Author: Leigh Kohler
Date: June 15, 2022

The Freedom Church Alliance often talks about the importance of looking at our own hearts before seeking to take the light of Jesus Christ into the darkness of human trafficking. The body of Christ’s entanglement with pornography and participation in sexual immorality is tragic, and we would be short-sighted not to see how it’s crippling our plans to advance the gospel and be salt and light in the world. 

The overwhelming number of cases of sexual abuse within the church is devastating. And the ways some leaders have been complicit rather than standing against this evil and dealing with it in the light is perhaps even more damaging.

As this is my own church’s denomination, I’ve been shattered by discovering leaders within the SBC who ignored and/or silenced victims of sexual abuse. Those victims suffered greatly at the hands of those who should’ve formed one of the first lines of defense.  Please join me in praying for them right now.

I am grateful for the many Godly and sincere pastors speaking up about this sin and speaking to the need for deep repentance to happen within the SBC too. But it is much more widespread than the SBC. Countless stories surround us. Horrifying as it is, the church is not seen as a safe place. But our sanctuaries need to live up to their names and become once more a safe haven for the hurting. May we fall on our knees and rise up as the people of God, fully committed to exposing the darkness and living in the light. May we ask God to show us the best way to love and care for the victims of sexual abuse victims in our culture. 

Our churches are filled with men and women who have endured trauma. The pain and brokenness that comes from living in this sin-sick world is crushing. But God forbid that one more child, woman, or man experiences abuse at the hands of someone proclaiming the gospel and claiming to be one of God’s servants. May God grant us godly sorrow that leads to repentance and results in God-exalting, loving, authentic, and true leadership (see 2 Corinthians 7:10). We must build up a culture of transparency and protection. 

In the last few years I’ve been disappointed, I’ve been mad, and I’ve cried over the discovery of spiritual fathers who have fallen into sexual immorality and abuse—men I have admired and trusted.

Then there have been the cover ups and the shock that men who carry the mantle of spiritual leadership, proclaim the gospel, and teach the holy Scriptures have ignored and even silenced abuse victims who desperately needed to be heard and helped. In the wake of many of these stories that seem to keep coming, there are nameless and voiceless victims who have suffered more than most of us will ever know. 

I feel sick when I think of young teenagers abused at the hands of youth leaders or church workers who should have been some of their most trusted allies. These people were meant to love and lead our youth, not abuse them and wreck their lives. And it is clear throughout Scripture that God will not put up with spiritual leaders using their power and influence to manipulate and oppress those in their care. What a grave sin. The body of Christ indeed should mourn for those who, instead of being given the good news of the gospel and being shown the grace and kindness of Christ, have wanted nothing to do with God or the church. Oh, how the tolerance of this behavior by some leaders has hurt the proclamation of the gospel. 

I pray that we will not let the disappointments and the sinful actions of others—yes, even these once respected leaders—keep us from staying the course. It’s been heartbreaking to see so many people I love walk away from the church and Christianity. Solutions to evil don’t exist apart from Christ. 

One of the world’s greatest needs right now is a Spirit-filled church demonstrating the love of Christ. I pray that God will use what He is building within this alliance to be an ever-shining beacon in this age of overwhelming sexual sin, abuse, and chaos. 

Help us, Lord Jesus, to walk worthy of You.

Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light—for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth—testing what is pleasing to the Lord. Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. —Ephesians 5:7-11

 For more on this, read “5 Ways the Church Must ‘Step Up’ in Response to Sexual Abuse Within Its Walls” by Juli Slattery.

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