A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Report From the Bob Jones University Sexual Abuse Seminar — Part 2

Ok, day two report. I still have to attend the final evening session but decided to post this report now instead of at 10 or 11 PM tonight. Practical note: Greenville is changing. People now drive like maniacs here. Apparently the southern drawl does not extend to their foot. Heavy, heavy traffic. Just in case you were thinking about moving here.

The first session of the day was Robert Crawford. He has been a pastor and for some 12 years now has served as an advocate for abuse victims, employed by an attorney’s firm. This man “gets it.” He functions in the trenches and knows how pedophiles and sex molesters operate. He understands shame. He understands how churches often handle these matters wrongly and superficially. Once the seminar sessions are posted on the BJU website, this one is definitely worth listening to, as is the opening address I reported on yesterday by Dr. Shumach.

The second session was primarily handled by Sgt Ty Miller of the local sheriff’s office. She also gets it. And though she held back her punch, it was quite apparent that she knows full well how churches and pastors can tend to cover up and fail to report sexual abuse. She told everyone “don’t investigate these matters. Report them and let the police investigate.” She also told a number of stories, one of which was a of a pastor who doggedly stuck by a perpetrator in spite of all the evidence against him, insisting that there was no way the guy could possibly be guilty.

Then came Daniel Hicks, an attorney and BJU graduate. But he gets it too. Why? Because his law firm has had to represent churches in lawsuits filed against them by abuse victims. He said quite frankly that some of the things he has seen pastors and churches do in these cases boggles his understanding. He went over practical policy issues that need to be established in every church.

The final session of the afternoon was Debi Pryde, whose writings we have critiqued before on this blog. She actually was not physically present as her husband is ill. But one of her lectures on counseling children who have been sexually abused was viewed. It was actually pretty good and she very strongly emphasized how lying and deceiving and manipulating pedophiles are. She didn’t do too badly on the forgiveness issue either. She is a heavy proponent of Biblical counseling and I was reviewing some more of her class notebooks in the campus bookstore yesterday which indicated this. I suspect that, in my opinion, she goes overboard on the rejection of psychology.

Oh, and I did submit my written question for the Q&A tomorrow, asking if we could have another seminar at which we all just listened to victims tell how they were treated by their churches (I see that hand, Rebecca!). So we shall see if the question is addressed tomorrow.

Now, what are my over all impressions? I think that for the most part, the speakers at this conference understand abuse very well and that they are doing an excellent job of presenting it. However, I am not sure where the BJU faculty is on this. Yes, they put on the seminar. But so fair I have not seen or heard any inkling of confession or repentance in regard to how we (churches, pastors, and BJU) have rendered gross injustice to victims. None. The speakers have nailed it some. But nothing at all from the faculty and there is no forum really for any pastors present to say anything.

Secondly, I am not convinced that the faculty here “gets it” because it is obvious to me that the no divorce allowed for abuse mentality is deeply, deeply entrenched here. I am thankful that they agreed to let Calvary Press have a book table and display our new book,  But one of the reasons our book is looked at with great suspicion is because we maintain that abuse is indeed biblical grounds for divorce.

I have personally handed out a copy of our book to every one of the speakers and I have talked with each one and told them why we wrote the book. They were thankful to receive it. And in two cases now when I told the person our position on divorce, things went silent. I think they will still read the book, but it is like — Stepford Wives or something. Like there is an elephant in the room and when the big “D” word is mentioned a hush and uneasiness sweeps over them. Those are my impressions.

I think that anyone who knows and understands abuse realizes that it is really pretty crazy to tell a victim that God prohibits divorce for abuse. Yes, there are a few people here and there who actually still believe that Scripture does not allow for it and their reasons are due to genuine conviction. With the right information these folks may well come around some day. However, most people who oppose divorce for abuse — by opinion again — do so because it is the prevailing, long-standing position and if you buck it, you are going to pay for it.

One final note. In considering sexual abuse in the church, we should all be terribly grieved and to the degree that we have dealt injustice to victims, we should be on the floor face down. What I see here in this conference though (I don’t mean the speakers here) is that of a “aren’t we doing good here! Isn’t this a really great conference! Wasn’t that a marvelous lecture!” And that saddens me.

I guarantee that if we had another seminar at which 6 or so of you were up front and one after the other told your stories, there would be NONE of this back-slapping business going on. Not if there were a true atmosphere and spirit of humility and repentance.

I don’t want to alienate the BJU faculty so that we don’t even have any hearing with them, and I ask that our readers please refrain from naming anyone specifically when leveling criticisms.  I am very glad they had this seminar. And I am thankful to have the opportunity to hand out these books and try to get our message through. But I cannot report to this point at least that yes, it is obvious that victims have been heard. The Cry for Justice is going to have to keep sounding.

NOTE: I will post a final report on the seminar later this evening while i sit in the Wash DC airport. It was a very eventful morning that included some good things and some things that provided me more insight. They actually decided to announce our book in the final general session and that created a flurry of activity at the Calvary Press display. Stay tuned!

39 Comments

  1. Jeff, I am so grateful that your body supported your attendance at this conference and that God is using you in this way. May your efforts be blessed by our great God and multiplied. May those whom you have made contact with and had the opportunity to speak the truth in love to ruminate on this in the hours, days and weeks to come. And may God cause that rumination to ferment/flourish into a change of heart and thus action.
    Sheryl G.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Sheryl!!

    • Rebecca

      Agree..amen! Thank you Jeff

  2. Jeff, what you are doing is to be strongly commended. You are playing to a very tough audience. Probably the toughest there is. The Cry for Justice is going to have to keep sounding. I still find it amazing they would have you there at all. I honestly wonder how many of them are struggling with that decision thinking you never should have been allowed a presence at all.

    Eventually, if they are serious about dealing with this issue, they are going to have to face the divorce factor. They are going to have to do one of three things. Either they are going to have to look squarely at the essence of abuse and admit you cannot “negotiate with terrorists” and admit divorce must be permissible, or they are going to have to deny what abuse is, or else they are going to have to deny what marriage is. Those are their only choices.

    But that is a huge elephant for them to eat and they are not going to eat it in one bite. Many of them may not ever be able to finish eating the elephant at all.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Barnabas. Yes, and only “a” is the correct answer. Once we study and really understand the essence of abuse, the rest of our answers fall into place.

    • Hi Barnabas, Jeff is only an attendee at the conference, he’s not a speaker or workshop leader. His new book is on show at a book table there because Calvary Press, the publisher, has permission to have a book table there. I don’t know whether BJU or the conference organisers knew in advance that the book “A Cry For Justice” would be for sale on Calvary’s table, let alone knew what that book says about Divorce for Abuse.

    • Anybody got any recipes for how to serve elephant?

    • Martin

      I like the elephant analogy because it rightly shapes the size of hypocrisy within many fundamental ranks. Divorce is only one of the manifold issues. I would love to write a book on this one day very soon. For now, let’s just say I’m still taking notes. Now I’m going to have come up with a way to fit “elephant” into the title. Any ideas? 🙂

      • Too long, but fun anyway:

        An Elephant Through The Needle’s Eye: A Call For Christian Fundamentalist Repentence

  3. if we had another seminar at which 6 or so of you were up front and one after the other told your stories, there would be NONE of this back-slapping business going on. Not if there were a true atmosphere and spirit of humility and repentance.

    I think if such a panel of survivors were to address a conference of pastors and leaders, it would be vital to have a male survivor on the panel. In my experience, if you only present female survivors’ stories, the audience, whether they be men or women, will react and say “But men are abused too!”. And they will be so intent on making that point be heard and recognised, they will scarcely take in anything that the female survivors are conveying.

    I found this when I took a handful of female survivors to speak to a ladies bible study group in a church I used to attend. I didn’t know this until after that session, but many of the older women in the audience had sons who (they believed) had been abused by wives. They were inwardly prickling all through the talks that the female survivors gave. No wonder the whole thing went down like a lead balloon.

    I took myself to bed for some serious doona therapy for a day or two after that. I felt like I’d been rolled over by a steam roller because of the cold-hearted reactions of the women in the audience…

    • KayE

      I wonder how many of those sons were in fact the abusers. I fear that in many Christian circles, male survivors’ stories would be necessary to give women survivors credibility.

      • Yes, in many ways it’s sad that male victims’ stories might be needed to validate female victims’ stories. Maybe I’m wrong; I don’t want to lay it down as a hard and fast rule. But there are so many layers of misconception and myth to lift off before people really “get it”, I’m thinking that any strategy for removing one of those layers may be helpful, so long as it is honest.

      • While my mother never identified my wife with the word “abuse”, she and my sister for years were trying to wake me up to the reality that there was something seriously wrong in my marriage, but I too considered it my job to handle this situation and take whatever was going on.

    • Martin

      My mother was the first one to use the word “abuse” when applied to my situation. She said she had recognized it for years. Honestly, for twelve years I focused on survival alone and rarely backed up enough to consider what was happening to me or how I would label the situation. For me, I considered it a matter of weakness if I could not endure one more episode of spousal terrorism. The worse it got, the more I tried. Of course, any victim knows this just leads to escalation. As matters surfaced, it was my mother that directed me to resources for husbands being abused in marriage. It is interesting that, similar to the circumstances described at your bible study, my mother was the first to clearly diagnose the circumstances and to support me in recovery. Thank the Lord for Mom.

  4. ks

    Thank you again for your update regarding the conference. I haven’t heard firsthand the speakers, but what I have heard from others attending is also good, with the exception of one of the speakers – not sure which one, that they did not feel did as well as the others. I very strongly agree with your question about where the faculty of BJU stand on these issues. That IS the question. From my personal experience, there is a mixture of responses there, There are individual faculty members who I believe would be very supportive, though unsure of how to help. Their are those in the administration/former administration who have strongly emphasized silencing the victim under the guise of forgiveness, though I *think* that some of the newer administration are beginning to take a different stance on the issue.
    Where I find the most harm done is in the area of counseling. That is where the school has historically been the weakest and where it has caused the most devastation to abuse victims. I would like some indication that this will not continue and that they are repentant for the past counsel they have provided. It was and is very condemning of victims – the victim’s anger, sadness, fear, nightmares, flashbacks, etc. were all considered something to be confessed. You are right in waiting for confession and repentance. There are some there that could be named who wronged victims and need to repent. It is so important that they acknowledge their wrong and ask for forgiveness. It would go far towards aiding in the healing of some of the victims.
    Also, I agree with your assessment of Debi Pryde. I have heard many say that she initially sounds good, but her view that everything boils down to each of our own sins is problematic. She does seem to reject that the sins of others can affect us without taking on some of the blame ourselves for the effect and she doesn’t see a place for any medical or biological components being a part of who we are. We are simply spiritual beings who can be *fixed* by purely spiritual fixes.
    I’m praying and hoping for repentance among some at the school. There are still a few who consider abuse victims to deserve their abuse. One, in particular, states that no one who is *pure* could be abused. Only the *impure* are targeted. That is his counsel to abuse victims, yet he continues to teach at the school and is alleged to have urged students to keep silent about their abuse – at the school and within his church. Only time will tell if theis conference has any effect on the school itself.
    Again, thank you for reporting!

    • “One, in particular, states that no one who is *pure* could be abused.”

      Jesus would like to have a word with this person.

      • Just Me

        Agreed. What a disgusting thing to say to someone–a child, no less.

        I know we’re not supposed to judge motives, but can anyone speak to what the mind set is in Christians (particularly of those in authority) who believe this way? Why are the abused treated as hard hearted, while the abuser is treated as someone deserving of a second chance? Is it to keep a certain image within the community? Are pastors embarrassed when a divorce occurs within their church? Is it fear of God (being afraid that God will be angry at the pastor for not showing grace to the abuser)?

      • I think you have two types of folks- those who want to control the situation for their own comfort/gain and those who overreach in not trying to be influenced by the culture.
        The latter is a particularly difficult thing, because over and over again the church is being warned not to “give in” to the demands of the culture so it steels itself against emotional appeals. I was thinking this when I saw a video of John Piper explaining his views on complementarianism and one of the reasons he cited for it being an important issue was that standing for complementarianism required a moral fiber and a desire to stand against the popular tide of culture. The problem with this argument is that by making “standing against the tide of culture” a virtue in itself, now you can justify all sorts of horrible things. There is so much that culture is *right* about that would be horrible to take a stand against (slavery, murder, abuse, etc.). It ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy: you take a stand, culture gets angry with you, and you can say your stand is right because you should not bow to the culture. I think it’s easy to get caught in this trap and even deny your own feelings on a subject because you feel you are being “influenced by the culture”. This certainly must have happened with slavery, though in retrospect we know that culture was absolutely right and the Christian slave owners were absolutely wrong. And so I do think you have a lot of people who really want to do the right thing, but are afraid of allowing themselves to be influenced by the “world”. It’s much easier to remain in the safe “this is the way we’ve always done it” place than stick your neck out based on a personal conviction that the established views are wrong. Well, it’s “easier” as long as the issue doesn’t confront you directly.

        I sense this is an appropriate time to quote Voltaire: “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”

        On a related note, what I find extremely irritating is those who make the argument (and this is one those against divorce for abuse will make a lot) that you are taking a stance to be more pleasing to the culture. Our motives are attacked as being impure and making deals with the world. In reality, though, MY motive is that I feel a deep sense of injustice. This is nothing in me that seeks to look good in the eyes of the world- I want to be able to sleep at night with my faith intact. Blame me for not being objective with my feelings- that’s fine and we can discuss it, but DON’T accuse me of bowing to the world for holding to my own values (and values that I think represent God as revealed in scripture). If I were to bow to opposition against my conviction, THAT would be bowing to the world.

  5. ks

    One more thing… a agree that they need to hear fromt the survivors. Those of us who went to the school for help would really struggle to share with them now as their response filled us further with shame. I think it might help the general faculty to hear us, but fear that the counseling faculty is too deeply entrenched in their ideas of being right. If I mentioned some of the ways they counsel victims, it would shock and horrify you. It is a traumatic and devastating experience – one that is without hope.

  6. MariusP

    Ks,”
    ” If I mentioned some of the ways they counsel victims, it would shock and horrify you. It is a traumatic and devastating experience – one that is without hope.”

    So true. The force behind all counseling at BJU has no earned doctorate or any legitimate credentials in abuse counseling. He has “trained” all those involved in counseling at BJU over the years. The entire seminary faculty have BJU degrees… many have ONLY BJU degrees from undergraduate to doctorate. They are all trained in the same counseling/bullying techniques. Until he and his cohorts are removed from the school and his methods publicly repudiated there will be little change.
    We pray that change will occur soon.

  7. MariusP

    One more thing… ok, maybe two. The opinions of BJU faculty members are not really the issue. The system at the school prohibits any individual expression of opinions unless they are in line with what is coming from the Jones family. No one, and I mean NO ONE, will speak out on a subject without first finding out what the acceptable response should be as it comes from the administration. The fear among those working for the school is that real. I know — we lived under it for many years. It is a pervasive dread that keeps people from ever speaking out. That is how the interracial dating ban remained in effect until 2000. Anyone who dared speak out, even in whispers, was summarily fired. It is this system of spiritual and emotional abuse that sets out the framework for more serious forms of abuse. Faculty may disagree, even vehemently, but those that do will most likely end up leaving the school as the only option. Academic freedom does not exist. You may only write what is approved by your dean. It is that type of culture. Former colleagues were forced to remove blog posts that expressed ideas that did not conform to what the administration believed to be “correct”. A blog such us this is not possible for BJU personnel. So the opinion of the faculty is compromised at best.
    Secondly, though my wife and I suffered regular spiritual and emotional abuse we are thankful to God that it did not end up as something even more sinister. That said, we have suffered several years of PTSD from our years there and still occasionally have nasty flashbacks when we are confronted with memories of our fundamentalist past. All the faculty can relate to similar experiences, at least all those we have known closely.

    • Marius,

      That is a shame. I feel so bad for you that you had that experience. It sounds completely unworkable, to say the least.

      Why did they have an interracial dating ban?

      • Just Me

        I can’t speak from direct experience, but from what I’ve read ( I just did some brushing up with Google) the interracial dating ban was instituted because they believed that God made the races separate for a reason and that we shouldn’t blend them, so to speak. I had a friend who went there and was biracial. She had to decide which race she was going to date in her freshman year and only date in that race. The college didn’t allow black students admittance at all until the seventies.

        George Bush gave a speech there while campaigning. The media made a big to-do over the interracial dating ban and the college lifted the ban in 2000.

  8. Jeff Crippen

    NOTE: I will post a final report on the seminar later this evening while i sit in the Wash DC airport. It was a very eventful morning that included some good things and some things that provided me more insight. They actually decided to announce our book in the final general session and that created a flurry of activity at the Calvary Press display. Stay tuned!

    • Just Me

      Anxiously waiting!!!!

    • Wow. That’s wonderful!

      Except I now have to reconfigure everything I understand about the known universe. 😉

    • ” They actually decided to announce our book in the final general session”
      AAAAAARRGH! (This word lover is temporarily speechless)

  9. MariusP

    Just Me:
    Thanks for putting it in a nutshell. The whole history is rather a sordid affair. Dozens of students were expelled over the years for dating “outside their race” and similar numbers of faculty were either fired or resigned for questioning the ban. Most students who were thought to be involved with interracial relationships were typically called to the dean’s office and grilled until another reason could be trumped up for dismissing them (i.e. music choices, cheating, etc.). Interracial dating was never really listed as the reason the students were expelled so as to cover the University’s collective backside. The Jones family was so adament that the ban was God’s will supported by His Word that they actually fought to the Supreme Court to defend the right to keep the races from intermarrying. They lost and with that their tax exemption. BJU has been a non-tax exempt school since 1985. After the ban was lifted in 2000 due to the media firestorm set off by George Bush’s campaign visit (I was there at the time) the issue faded into the background. In 2008 concerned alumni started an online petition to force the University to issue a formal apology for the ban. After hundreds of alumni signed the petition and media scrutiny again began to focus on BJU, Stephen Jones (the 4th generation of Jones family leadership) issued an “apology”, or “Statement on Race” (it is available to read on their website). In essence the statement blames the U.S. culture at large for the ban, implying that BJU simply showed weakness in failing to stand up and resist it. It’s bizarre and deceptive reasoning at best, especially since interracial dating was not a problem for society since the 70’s and it was BJU that stood defiantly AGAINST society, all the way to the Supreme Court, to protect their position. The statement also fails to apologize to any of the students or faculty who were persecuted for defying the ban or for the egregious misrepresentation of the Word of God. No mention is made of BJU’s consistent insistence that the Bible made them do it. NONE. So, at best, it is a carefully worded defense of BJU’s innocence.
    Though I seem to be off topic, I think the interracial dating ban history is instructive as to the current conference. BJU only changed its position after an online petition forced it to do so. Then, when the statement on race was issued they claimed the petition had nothing to do with it and that they had planned to do it all along. Now, they are holding a conference on sexual abuse. They do not mention themselves as they host this conference, instead pointing a finger elsewhere. They also fail to acknowledge that the conference is a result of the media firestorm a year ago over the sex abuse scandal that engulfed BJU and the second online petition drive to remove board member Chuck Phelps. He was forced to resign (though as I said in a previous post, continues to speak on campus and remain close to the Jones family) only after ABC News’ 20/20 program aired detailing the situation. BJU quickly gave him the sword and tried to minimize damage. Then they created this conference while saying once again that the petition drive had nothing to do with it; they were planning this conference for years. It is clear BJU moves only when the media and alumni force them to do so, and even then with little or no remorse or acceptance of responsibility. It is no wonder those of us who have seen this up close for years have little respect for BJU and the Jones family that rules over the institution.

    • I see. I just read their statement and I get what you are saying. I’m not super excited about them saying culture influenced them in their racism because, while it is certainly the case that racism was a major cultural mainstay for a very long time, and was at its most obvious extreme in Southern slavery, this still comes off as something of an excuse because the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, was founded specifically because of a theological belief in the inferiority of certain races (i.e. blacks). They seem to have mostly, but not entirely, gotten over this, but the fact remains there are those who find in Scripture some kind of basis for racism (and/or slavery). I have never understood how they do this and was wondering how BJU did it. But especially seeing as how they are in South Carolina of all places, I find it an incredible stretch to believe their former position on race was always entirely a failure to separate from the world’s/culture’s perspective. What it is is bad theology. Either culture influenced theology for a long while dating way back to Europe, in which case they are kind of right that culture is the base factor. Yet surely they must have used some passages to teach how this was supposedly biblical. Or bad theology influenced culture, allowing for the mistreatment and devaluing of persons based on genetics. I have no idea which is the chicken and which the egg. But in either case we do not see biblical teaching correcting this heinous error through their history, as it should have.

      Then factor in, as you point out, the continuance in that direction — even defending the position, and that all the way to the Supreme Court?? — long after society had taken pains to correct that course. It does come off as hollow at best.

      So with this history, we do have to ask ourselves if this abuse conference is more political than anything else. I certainly hope not. I’m sure the Lord can still use it anyway and so will take the attitude Paul took in Philippians about the gospel being preached. But the warning not to be naive is not lost on me.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Marius – I believe your assessment is correct. This conclusion was sealed for me by the presentation of the BJU president’s assistant at the seminar. I felt like I was listening to a powerful politicians’s “suit” with slicked back hair, slick style, brought in to do damage control and image cast.

  10. Thanks so much Marius and others who have given us the backstory on BJU and its shennanigans: racial discrimination, abuse ~ coverup ~ reactive window dressing, bullying in the guise of counseling, etc. Let’s be plain: one of the hallmarks of a cult is that a cult will not tolerate any criticism its leaders. So… not surprised you and your wife have PTSD, Marius. My commiserations.
    Also, one mark of sociopaths is that “their talk has a rational sound to it”. The bizarre and deceptive reasoning of Stephen Jones’s “Statement on Race” is a typical example of that. The more you read and re-read such documents, the more you feel you are getting brain damage: try as you might, the ‘logic’ doesn’t seem to make sense, but unless you are astute to those pernicious tactics of sociopaths, unless you know that the only way to deal with them is to block them, you can turn your brain into pretzels trying to make it make sense.
    (If you want to read where I got that phrase “their talk has a rational sound to it” see here.)

    Just Me wrote:

    I know we’re not supposed to judge motives, but can anyone speak to what the mind set is in Christians (particularly of those in authority) who believe this way? Why are the abused treated as hard hearted, while the abuser is treated as someone deserving of a second chance? Is it to keep a certain image within the community? Are pastors embarrassed when a divorce occurs within their church? Is it fear of God (being afraid that God will be angry at the pastor for not showing grace to the abuser)?

    And Jeff S replied:

    I think you have two types of folks – those who want to control the situation for their own comfort/gain and those who overreach in not trying to be influenced by the culture.

    Personally, I think there are more than two types, though the two types that Jeff described so well certainly figure quite largely in the landscape. I believe there is at least one further kind of mindset that is behind this horrific bullying of victims: the mindset of the leader who is an abuser himself. Typically it’s a man in leadership who is sexually abusing children and young people, or abusing his wife, or having adulterous affairs, or stealing money from the organization. And of course, you often find these sins overlapping in the one man (wife abuser plus child abuser, for example). They are the sins for which 1 Corinthians 5 says “Hand him over to Satan”.

    • Barbara, I was overgeneralizing with my “two types”; however, I will say the leaders who is an abuser I intended to fit into the “those who want to control the situation for their own comfort/gain” type.

      But I guess I was meaning that it’s important to distinguish between those who have at their heart motives that are evil from the outset (abusers/ unregenerate/ pharisees/ etc.) vs those who have motives that fall short (lack of knowledge/ lack of experience/ driven by fear/ etc). There is no point to even try to reason with the first group, whereas the light of truth will ultimately reach the second if given enough time and exposure.

    • Thanks Jeff, I realised afterwards that your first type could include abusers themselves. And that being the case, your two types are perfectly correct, I believe, and it’s the second type who we may be able to influence and bring about change with. The first type, only God can influence by convicting them of their sin.

  11. Lynne

    I attended almost all sessions of the conference, with exception of the chapel sessions and the Wednesday evening session. The thing that primarily concerned me most was that they sort of skirted around the issue of accessing “secular” counseling while backhandedly joking that the “world” is good at “preempting” the abuse but they’re not so good at dealing with it afterward because they don’t have the “true answers.” I actually submitted a question for the panel specifically asking the speakers to address when they felt it best/appropriate to take a child (I said child because that was the focus of Debi Pryde’s session) to a “secular” therapist/counseling who was trained in handling the issues of sexual abuse and the implications of the trauma. My questions was not read or answered. I know their answer, but really wanted them to articulate it. Unless it was mentioned in one of the sessions I did not attend, I don’t think secular resources were even mentioned as a possibility. Not a surprise, but disappointing. Especially because many of the pastors there could’ve been pointed to valuable resources in their community, but were essentially led to believe it was up to them and law enforcement to handle the totality of the issues.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Hi Lynne – I am just about to write my part 3 report of the seminar but wanted to reply to you right away. It would have been great to connect at the conference with you, but I am very glad to at least get to hear from you on the blog. I agree with your observations very much. This issue is at the heart of the whole business of “biblical counseling” run amok. Here is the fact: when I started studying domestic and sexual abuse, I found my absolutely best resources in the secular world. And I don’t mean only in regard to the secular psychologist/therapist’s ability to just describe the evil, but also in their ability to deal with and treat victims. Sure, I realize that ultimately it is Christ who heals us and sets us free. And I realize that the world does not have this great Remedy. But I also know that God has given man common grace, that science is indeed able to perceive quite a lot of truths, and that we are foolish if we discount this and arrogantly claim we know it all. I have a chapter in our book that addresses this very thing — the issue of is every Christian with Bible in hand automatically competent to counsel. No!

      At the Q&A when a question was asked about what resources are there for us to learn more about the mindset of the abuser, just about everyone, including and perhaps especially, the moderator (exception was Dr. Shumate who really “gets it”) was stumbling all around and unable to answer the question. I was sitting there wanting to stand up and yell “I can tell you!” Virtually every regular reader of this blog would have instantly been able to say “read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That?” So as a result, all those people went away not knowing the best resources to get and study. We list about 13 excellent resources in the back of our book, but only a few people bought it.

      Thanks again Lynne. So glad you were there and that you shared your insights.

      • On the one hand, I’m grieving the lost opportunity for all those people to hear “READ LUNDY BANCROFT! (and A Cry for Justice!) ”
        On the other hand, I’m rejoicing that someone asked the question “How can we learn more about the mindset of the abuser?” That is such a vital question. It’s the question that prompted Jeff Crippen to start on this amazing journey. It’s the question that leads to real answers. At least people in the audience heard that question and may be going home with it bumping around in their minds. May God not let it go away…

    • Rebecca

      Very interesting, Lynne, but not surprising, as you said too. That sounds like a pride issue. That Christian community isn’t willing to give validity or credit to anyone not confirmed as a Christian. That doesn’t sound very Christian to me. I’m glad that you asked the question…the response of silence certainly spoke loud and clear.

  12. Rebecca

    Jeff, thank you all the way around for attending this conference and interjecting your wisdom and what you’ve learned while there. When the opportunity presented itself, you not only stepped up, but you took the initiative to make connections.

    Everyone’s input and comments are so grounded. It is all so affirming to read it, and to feel ‘heard’.

    The entire disconnect in the Christian community of expecting sexual abuse, abuse, and counseling needing to come only from a Christian counselor or resource has become a source of intense inner turmoil for me. My education/career is in the medical field, as an RN, graduate of Cedarville University (College when I was there). Not ONCE in all my training or work experience, both with Christian and secular clinicals and instructors, did anyone say, ‘Cancer/diabetes/alcoholism/traumatic brain injury due to stroke,car accident, …(etc) is a sin problem; none of this would have happened to you if you were a ‘pure’ person”. (though my parents did say to my brother at one time that God would punish him for making fun of a disabled child by giving him a disable child himself. )

    If one has been tragically diagnosed with a massive brain tumor, are you going to seek out only a Christian surgeon, hospital, and treatment? Or are you going to find the best resource, the surgeon with the most experience and go there, regardless of race, gender or religion?

    Why then, is Abuse of any kind *only* a sin problem, or the victim not believed at all. Yes it’s not Biblical, but it’s also illogical to categorize any abuse as sin and spiritual only, with the expectation to be treated with Christian only counseling and watching for the miraculous healing. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. The double standard has pulverized the world for victims and survivors in the church. I am so thankful that you are all here, speaking the truth. Thank you Jeff, Barbara, and all those who follow and comment. I’m ready and willing to do my part to shout for changes….somethings coming, continue to pray.
    Rebecca

    • Song

      Rebecca,
      You bring up such a good point about the double standard. Thank you for sharing. I couldn’t agree more. Even the choir can learn new songs! Thanks again!

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