This is the final in a series of three posts (read the first here and the second here) about the ways in which one PCA church has responded to a case of abuse. In this post, I examine the ways in which Jessica’s church leaders protected the status quo, at her expense.
But expressions of status-quo preservation are also often rather subtler. After the presbytery denied both of Jessica’s complaints in January, 2017, I spoke by phone with a member of her presbytery. I had been involved here and there in Jessica’s case, where it seemed appropriate, and I wanted to hear this leader’s thoughts on the outcome of her case. In our 1.5-hour conversation, the leader urged me to move my work into a more positive, hopeful direction.
Church - Advice
Many in the church have offered similar advice to me. It tends to go like this:
The leaders in that church or presbytery are not ready for the kinds of changes that this case demands. However, we are hopeful that the seeds for change are being planted, behind the scenes, via quiet conversations. Leave this with us, let us continue to try to convict those around us in a more relational way. Your public-facing work might hinder the repentance process of leaders in the wrong, so instead focus your own work on providing general advice to people working with vulnerable Christians. Try to stay out of any one particular case. They aren’t the right avenue for this. Speaking out rocks the boat too much.
Benefits - Church - Leaders - People - Jessica
Who benefits from this? Church leaders. Who suffers? People like Jessica. As I mentioned in the first post in this series, one church leader responded that Jessica and others like her are unavoidable ‘collateral damage’ in the slow process of critical reflection and repentance in church leadership. Indeed, many leaders have...
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