Child molesters and other perpetrators in church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by El_Guero, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    We have been discussing the purpose of the Church and how we should deal with child molesters and other perpetrators in church?

    Should we forgive quickly?

    Should we allow a greater protection for the weaker members of the Church?

    Should all perpetrators be treated the same in reqards to restoration of fellowship?
     
  2. paidagogos

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    Perhaps your questions need delimiting and defining. Are you referring to child molestation that takes place at church events or on church property? Or, perhaps you are referring to people, who are child molesters, that attend your church?

    It is the church's obligation to see that child sexual abuse never occurs on church property or church activities. The answer is accountability and supervision. Every church needs prevention policies and practices that are diligently enforced. Prevention is the key.

    When you rightly analyze the problem. the church only has a window of opportunity before the child sexual abuse occurs. The action is prevention. After child sexual abuse is perpetrated, it becomes a matter for the criminal justice system. It is out of the church's hands except for matters of forgiveness and restoration.

    Furthermore, accountability and good supervision helps the individual who is tempted by sexual lust toward children. These measures are effective deterrents.

    BTW, I do training and seminars for churches, schools and day cares in this area. The following link is a good resource for those who are serious about addressing the problem: http://www.reducingtherisk.com/
     
  3. El_Guero

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    Your post was really good to read, and then I saw your experience. That would explain it.

    I reckon, part of what we should be addressing is what you are covering.

    What is the responsibility before, and what we MUST do after, a molestor has struck? And how should we deal wtih a perpertrator after their punishment?
     
  4. tinytim

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    I feel that prosecution should occur... if the courts do their thing, then it automatically removes the perp from the church's midst.

    After they have done their time, then consider restoration.
     
  5. bapmom

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    but the courts don't always send the perpetrator to jail. Lately courts have been giving more and more lenient sentences. The perp gets probation, especially if it's a first time offense, or a "mild" offense. Don't get me wrong....there is nothing I see as "miled" in this issue, but the courts do.

    I think the law should be involved right away.......but I also think that the case should be kept as private as possible until the perpetrator is proven guilty.


    As with other offenses, I believe that the Matthew 18 passage ought to be put into play immediately, as well. If the person is unrepentant throughout the process then they have to be disciplined out of the church. My question remains as to how much physical force we would use to keep them out of the service if they are intent on attending.

    What if the "perpetrator" claims innocence? Do we always stick with the accuser?
     
  6. Soulman

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    My six year old daughter was touched inappropriatly on a church bus while I was driving. My pastor informed me of this after rumors had hit his office of similar acts. This couldn't be proven but the man did admit it to the pastor. He was immedietly ejected from the church and a letter went out to all the local churches warning them about this man. Should he be allowed to go to church? Not a church with childrens ministries.

    I went to his house and forgave him but warned him to never let me see him around children or I would turn him in to the police.
     
  7. bapmom

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    never allowed to go to any church again, Soulman? I take it from your post that while he admitted it, he wasn't repentant of it?

    Now speaking generally.............
    What about having some sort of ministry that works at bringing these souls to repentance? ANd yes, Im thinking of Reformers Unanimous again, but it truly does help people to come to a true walk with Christ........and so these sorts of sins can be overcome.

    Perhaps not at the same church as the victim, but shouldn't he be afforded some kind of Christian aid to overcome this sin? Even if only so that he doesn't start perpetrating even worse things on other children in the community.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    This was certainly a disobedient approach to the issue. Church discipline procedures should have been followed so that Christ would be honored. Surely, when he gave his commands, he anticipated things like this occurring in the church and did not give extra commands for these situations.

    It may be wise for a child molester to move to a church where he has no previous contacts and the pastor (not necessarily the whole church) be made aware so the pastor can be involved in the situation. A church that refuses fellowship to a repentant sinner is a church out of order. They are sinning against the Savior and repudiating the cleansing nature of his precious blood.

    Child molesters must be dealt with, prevented from all contact with children, and closely discipled. But they cannot be refused admittance to the church if they are repentant.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    Can you imagine that kind of forgiveness from Christ (Eph 4:32)?
     
  10. TheWinDork

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    As a victim of a attempted sexual molestation, It should be taken to the Police RIGHT AWAY! Do not discuss with your Pastor or anyone else... Go straight to the Police! That's what I did wrong, I didn't tell my parents right away.. I was too scared.... and now 25 years later, I'm wishing I did. Maybe that idiot Pastor and the pervert who wanted me to perform oral sex on him, would be in jail... :mad:

    I forgive, But I never, ever forget...:mad:

    -WTD
     
    #10 TheWinDork, Jul 5, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2006
  11. bapmom

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    "idiot pastor"?

    If you didn't tell him than how can you expect him to have known?

    Of course if you've been assaulted you ought to go to the police. They need to be held accountable. But that also should not preclude them from ever attending a church anywhere. To say that they ought not attend a church that has children's ministries.....well what church doesn't have kids in it? If there's no kids there it's probably a dead church and won't help the perp anyway.


    I know people who have come out of these sorts of things, and gone on to be productive, fulfilled Christians. If they are repentant they need to be afforded our help.

    But as Pastor Larry said, there is a formula in the Bible to follow. We need to really start following it in our churches.
     
  12. El_Guero

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    Pastor Larry,

    Your response was well thought out, convincing, and it almost convinced me.

    But, I do not remember a Scripture saying that a church in particular MUST offer fellowship to a specific offender when that offender came to 'be restored.' This does make sense.
     
  13. El_Guero

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    I think the Lord was serious when He said that it was better for someone to have a milstone strapped to him. Christ had a special place for children. As hot as his words were for the pharisees, I think His words to a molestor would have caused a meltdown.

    I won't say that a Church is disobedient when they Church someone, especially for molestation.

    My fear is now that satan's attack of children in the Catholic Church has been exposed, that satan will send his evil towards the Baptist churches. It would almost sound as if we are taking a similar approach. They should be restored to what they were. They should have a second chance. At least the Catholics TRIED to restore. They found that this procedure was DEVASTATING to the Church. And I am not referring to the process of civil courts and legal action. The trust of the Catholic believers was devastated.

    What I have seen is that when someone's trust of Church is damaged - they seldom go back to Church.

    I pray that is not what we want. Am I stubborn when dealing with sexual crimes - Yes. I, personally, was interviewed by churches that had lost their pastors to adultery - the CARNAGE that a church goes through is TERRIBLE. The damage of external sexual sin (as opposed to pornography) to a church seems to be almost universal and bad.

    IMHO. Ministries for homosexuals, adulterers, and ESPECIALLY molestors should be focused upon parachurch activities. And where possible, churches should be established to reach the perverts. I know some will not like my placing adulterers there - but, I do think it is part of the epidemic.

    And if someone wanted to add pornographers to the list - I would not be surprised.
     
  14. bapmom

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    What about 2 Corinthians? Isn't that Paul writing to the church in order to tell them to restore that member to their fellowship since he repented?
     
  15. bapmom

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    The thing Soulman's post seemed to indicate was that the procedures for proper church discipline were not followed. This is BESIDES the reporting to police. If he were repentant, than oughtn't he be put in a place where he is accountable to the pastor, but still allowed to attend? I would even say assign a chaperone to him while he's on the premises.

    I believe we are speaking differently than the Catholic church, because we are NOT saying restore them to what they were.......they should not be ministering in children's programs, and they ought not have any spiritual authority in the church.....at least not for a substantial period of time in which they prove themselves trustworthy again......ten years or more.

    I understand what you are saying about parachurch ministries.....and Im not opposed to that. Reformers Unanimous is actually supposed to be run sometime different than a regular church service. Friday nights is ideal. So we minister to them, but its not when other church members are there. In fact, it is open to the community, not just church members, so we get all sorts of people in.

    The thing with starting a separate church just for sexual offenders is that you are then saying there is a sin which cannot be overcome completely. It would mean that they cannot leave it behind them and move on. I understand that there are consequences for some sins which never go away, but I think placing all of them in a separate church is too extreme. Adultery for one, that can be overcome and the man or woman can go on and be a productive Christian. He or she can even go on and become a leader again eventually.

    I think a part of the epidemic is that we've taken these sorts of sins and bought into the idea that the offender cannot help himself. It's "how he was born", and so we decide he cannot be changed, even by Jesus Christ. IMO, that led to the Catholic church just moving their priests around when there were complaints.........ie, he can't help it so maybe a different environment will help him. But, IMO, it is also leading some of us to just say forget it, they can't be helped so get them away from us.
     
  16. El_Guero

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    I thought of that . . . but, aren't 1 Cor chapters 5 & 6 - JUDGE, judge the evil doers.

    I know that 2 Cor chapter 2 deals with restoring someone, but is it specifically stating that (1) they 'had to restore someone that had harmed children', and (2) was his discipline for sexual immorality?

    External to the text, a third issue might be that then Church was usually towns with what seems to have been something like a singular synod per town (bishopric).
     
  17. TheWinDork

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    Oh, he knew, trust me.

    -WTD[/quote]
    unsubstantiated innuendo and accustation deleted.
    also: Please watch your language. It is a violation of the rules of the BB. Show grace when posting.
    DHK

     
    #17 TheWinDork, Jul 5, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2006
  18. El_Guero

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    I am not opposed to that for a church.


    I would like to agree, but I cannot on this. The devastation of the Catholic Church today is because of their not taking an even harsher stance against the sexual sin of their leadership. I would agree that we should not restore them to positions of leadership, but a time period I do not think is warranted. A perpertrator should not be allowed the temptation of what causes them to fail so badly. Kinda like saying after ten years, we could give a cigarette to the old smokers or a drink to the old alchoholics.


    I like that idea.


    The damage that I have seen done to churches leads me to believe otherwise. From a leadership perspective, we will have to agree to disagree.*

    Actually, I think the Church is more at fault. We are taking the approach that we do not want to rock the boat. We do not want to be 'judged' for being unloving. There are times that the Gospel will be offensive to some. And if someone wants to be a predator - they really do not want me to deal with them. An adulterer - I can forgive more here - but, the damage an adulterer does to his (or her) family is DEVASTATING.


    * I know that I can do enough on my own to damage the ministry that God does through me, I refuse to allow others to tarnish that with certain blatant sins. At the top of the list of those sins are child abusers. I can see loving them, I can see being kind to them, I can see being loving enough to call the poliice over calling for a baseball bat, but those that hurt children need to move on. IMHO.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    Matt 18 makes clear that when you confront, if he repents, "you have gained a brother." It is hard to see how that is anything but restoration. 2 Cor was mentioned as well, and rightly so. It also talks of restoration. 1 Cor 5 is about church discipline, but the poitn there is non-repentance. Once a person repent, 1 Cor 5 is over. It no longer applies.

    And don't mistake my position. I am not suggesting he should be retained as a pastor, deacon, SS teacher, or any such thing. He should be immediately removed from all positions of teaching and public ministry (singing in teh choir, etc.). He will have to face the legal consequences of his acts, including jail time if necesssary. But if he repents, he should be restored to full membership, should be able to serve in the body (perhaps cleaning, helping set up/tear down, etc), and should have the full support of the church.

    Harming children is no worse of an offense than anything else in terms of discipline. The social consequences are different, but not the sin. The point of Matthew and the millstone was about spiritual immaturity and stumbling, not child sexual abuse. It is the ones who become as these little ones to enter hte kingdom that Christ is protecting from the Pharisees who are the blind leading the blind.

    As I say, if the victim is in the church, it is necessary for the perpetrator to confess to the victim and ask forgiveness. It may need to be public as well if it is a publicly known sin (or will become publicly known), and then transfer his membership to a church where he can receive the support and accountability that he needs in the days ahead. The issue may or may not need to be public at the new church. If it becomes a legal case widespread (in the news, etc), it is wise to tell the church in order to let them know what has taken place, the repentance has taken place, that accountability is in effect, and that the church is modeling the forgiveness of Christ and will stand by the perpetrator through this event in prayer and love.

    While we are talking in generalities and theories here, let me also say that the victim must forgive. If the victim does not forgive, then they are subject to the discipline of the church as well since they are living in perpetual unrepentant disobedience to Christ. Their forgiveness does not mean that they have to establish a relationship, but it means that they cannot treat the perpetrator as if they had done it. Their forgiveness must model the forgiveness of Christ (Eph 4:32) who treats us in forgiveness as if we had not sinned. This is the tougher part of the issue, I think.
     
  20. El_Guero

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    Just for future reference - I have seen the devastation that it causes. His response was tame to some of the responses that I have seen.

    This pent up anger caused by perpetrators is why I am harsh on the topic.

    Yes, I do believe in love, forgiveness, and touchy feely stuff, but I am still harsh on perpetrators.


     

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