I subscribe to a Google feed that sends me news of new church and spiritual abuses. Everyday there are at least two e-mails in my inbox with some distressing and shameful scandal. This time, it involves Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, OK….but only because one of the victims blew the whistle.
Not all church scandals involve a cult steeped in aberrant doctrines. Many of them involve churches similar to the one down the street from you and me. The ones that make the news are usually the ones that make it to court because someone filed a complaint. All too often, churches choose to keep their dirty linen inside the church walls. This in itself is a scandal, but one known only to God and to those who are scandalized, and hurt, by the complacency of it’s members.
This is more than just my opinion as I’ve followed these church failures, and yes, they are failures and more than that, they’re putting the name of Christ to an open shame…but it seems to me that most of these scandals involve either a money crime or a sexual crime. And for every crime involving churches, there has to be a victim. Sometimes it may be money donated by the congregation and then misused or stolen by the clergy, usually the pastor. The congregation is made up not only of the middle class and/or those who can afford a loss without it hurting them, but also of those who can scarcely afford to put food on their table.
Then, on the other hand, a sexual crime usually, but not always involves a young child, such as the 9yr old girl raped and victimized by her pastor.
How often when a church scandal happens and a rogue pastor is exposed do you hear that we are just supposed to pray for him and then forgive him? I agree that we need to do that as well, but we clearly do NOT need to place him back in a place of leadership. The very fact that an ungodly crime happened in the first place is an indication that there is something very wrong going on in whatever church is involved. For example, why wasn’t the said wolf in sheep’s clothing and his behavior discerned by someone accountable? Isn’t that what elders are for?
Back when I was still a young in the LORD Christian, I sought God not only in church, but in His Word and in my prayer closet. I began to get “vibes” if you will that there were things going on in the church, (in this case, a spiritfilled church where such things as sex or money crimes should NEVER happen. The Holy Spirit was warning me, but the leadership seemed to be oblivious.
Like I said, it always seems to be about either sex or money….two of the deadliest sins that man is prone to be capable of. And two that God takes most seriously.
My friend told me that 3 years prior, during a men and boys only church outing that her son had been molested by the church youth minister at Fountain of Life Pentecostal Church in Dewey, Oklahoma. He was 13 at the time, but was so confused, traumatized and ashamed that he didn’t tell his mother until he was 16. At that time, she told a friend who was in leadership in the church, who then told the pastor. What happened then was beyond belief. Instead of confronting this perpetrator, the pastor preached what I heard was a fiery sermon the next Sunday, and the perp ran to the altar bawling and squalling. The church took this action as “repentance” and then without any form of counseling, or removing him from his position as youth minister. What were they thinking!??
Sadly, this damaged my friend’s son beyond belief. This happened many years ago, and although this young man is now grown, married and with a family, he still bears scars from this molestation. However, during the interim period he went through many difficult times that went unministered to by the church, even by then they knew about it. He’d just refused to go back to that church without telling anyone why.
And the church? Well, sexual molestation of a minor child is first of all a CRIME punishable by law. This perp should have been arrested, taken to court and jailed. Also, the church could have been sued to the max by my friend. Neither happened and he went scot free to continue his hidden agenda in the church behind closed doors. Almost…….you see, what happened a few years later, this same perp died (in perfect health), of a heart attack at age 40. The first thing that came to me was….”God will not be mocked”, especially in his own house called by his name. The next thing that came to me was, “vengeance is mine, saith the LORD, I will repay”. Apparently, he wasn’t kidding when he said that. There was simply no other answer, or reason for this person to die.
God’s eye is on the sparrow, and he watches over his little ones. He warned those not to touch one of them, and what would happen if they did. Lest we not forget, we are held responsible if we turn a blind eye toward blatant and obvious sins and misconduct in the household of God.
Note from Scarlett: I was recently informed that the minor child who was molested by the “youth minister” in this case admitted to his mother for the first time, he was sodomized during this cam ping trip.