What I read today
2 Samuel 21-22; Psalm 143; Ezekiel 20; Matthew 26; 1 Corinthians 5
On August 14th a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report detailing decades of abuse by Catholic priests. It called out over 300 priests and leaders within the Catholic church over the abuse and worse yet, the cover-up of the abuse for over 50 years. Protestant churches are not immune to the problem.
Bill Hybels, the senior pastor of Willow Creek Church in Chicago, was recently accused by multiple women of sexual abuse and assault. Making this situation worse the leadership inside the church also tried to cover up the allegations.
And before our illustrious elected officials decide they’re so pristine pure that they need to start pontificating against the church, last spring it was discovered that the Congress had a 34 million dollar fund to pay off abuse allegations against its members.
The abuse is bad enough. But when leaders fail to call out the abuse or worse yet cover it up, it becomes inexcusable.
In 1 Corinthians Paul confronts a case of sexual misconduct by a church member and the failure of the church leadership to do something about it. It’s a lesson that every leader within the church needs to read and learn right now. The faith of church members is wholly destroyed when our Pastors, teachers and church leaders fail to stop abuse by one of its leaders.
If you have any doubt of this, look at the Catholic church scandal. The once revered Pope John Paul II is now being vilified for his failure to act during the height of the scandal. Pope Benedict has been tarnished forever. Now Pope Francis is being asked to resign by many members of the church. Longtime Bishops and Cardinals are resigning from their positions as case after case of abuse comes to light. The damage to the Catholic Church may never be healed.
When a claim of abuse is made it must be thoroughly investigated. If a leader in power is found to have abused someone, that abuse must be called out, and the leader removed. It must be stopped.
Leaders must step up to the plate and do their job no matter how difficult it is and no matter who the abuser is or what position he holds. We must follow Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians and remove those from ministry who abuse their positions. Our failure to do so is measured in souls who are permanently damaged.