A Response to the National Church Assault Scandals
The news told stories that should make every Christian grieve. Stories were told of sexual predators protected by some local congregations. Mug shots of the guilty were heartbreaking to see because each guilty person had assaulted one or more people, and were enabled by a local church because the local church did not do background checks or covered up the assault in the name of being 'gracious' and seeking to 'restore' the perpetrator.
The tragey of course is that of the lives of so many women and children (the vast majority of victims were in this category) were ruined by violent men bent on fulfilling their evil desires. How do we respond to such a thing?
First, we must grieve. Such things should never take place among the people of God, enabling and covering up assaults or predators. We are to be holy as He is holy.
Second, we must pray for the victims. Those who suffered the loss of innocence at the hands of attackers lost so very much. We must pray that Christ would restore and heal and comfort those who suffered in the name of Jesus and the church.
Third, we must stay committed to making our church a church that is safe for all. We do this through background checks and a zero tolerance policy with predators and those who would assault others.
It is important to note that our church does extensive background checks on all who work with children. We have a top tier background check service we contract with, and all who work with our children must go through the background test.
We also do background check on pastor and staff and those in positions of leadership. The background checks are extensive and thorough.
We must also commit to being vigilant. The commonality it would seem in churches where such things happened is this: a segment of people were willing to turn a blind eye even though they had a sense something dark might be taking place. Some churches blatatantly turned a blind eye to abuses they knew had happened. We must be vigilant and we must immediately address any potential situation should one arise.
We will always assume innocent unless proven guilty, but we will never mistake 'tolerating assault in the name of grace' for actual grace. God's grace leads us to desire holiness, not cover up such things.
We live in a broken world, a broken culture and the church in America is in need of revival and reformation. We will, as a church, do our absolute best to make sure things like this do not happen in the life of Stonebridge Baptist Church. You (our members and guests) deserve that. Our Lord and Savior both demands it and deserves it from us.