If you have been alive and even halfway alert over the last decade or two, you will not have missed the dire warnings from many of prevalent sexual abuse in our culture. If you have ever googled our church community here, or maybe your great aunt Gertrude did for you, you will know that we have had to deal with sexual abuse in our churches here in Moscow.
Our position on all sexual abuse has been steady and uniform. We condemn it all. However, we are Bible believing Christians, and therefore, we are also intent on obeying the Bible in it all and through it all. This means defining “abuse” biblically and not according to the whims of our culture. And given the way the word has been used and weaponized, you can put me down as one who definitely goes squinty eyed when the accusations start flying. This not because I don’t think abuse happens. This is because I know that it does, that there are real victims and real perpetrators, and there are also some real villains out there stirring up emotional mobs in order to keep everyone distracted while they continue to groom our culture and our kids for exploitation.
Obeying the Bible
Obeying the Bible means distinguishing between “sins” and “crimes,” and distinguishing between proper jurisdictions. Since Jesus is Lord, He assigns authorities their powers, and they may not go outside of those powers. Since Jesus is Lord, the civil magistrate has true authority over crimes, and true sexual exploitation and assault is criminal activity, and therefore must be reported to the civil authorities. These are things that we have practiced for decades. We also believe in the true authority of family government and church government over those sins, and those respective governments are authorized by God to bring biblical wisdom to bear on these matters. None of these governments exercise this authority perfectly, but we deny that the civil government or their licensed gurus are better suited to handle sin than families and churches.
Obeying the Bible also means that we may not convict anyone of crimes or sins without the testimony of two or three witnesses. This applies to accusations of abuse, but it also applies to accusations of mishandling of abuse or abuse charges. One person may bring charges, but when you hear the accused, as you must, you will often find true contradiction and differences of perspective (Prov. 18:17). Apart from two or three witnesses, nothing may be established (Dt. 19:15). We do not believe in vigilante justice or lynching, and we don’t think you should either.
This may come as a shock, but just because you read something on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true, and just because you have one witness doesn’t mean it’s true. The Bible requires multiple, independent witnesses. This is because the Bible requires the presumption of innocence: innocent until proven guilty. This is nothing less than the law of love: do unto others as you would have them do to you. You should act on accusations the way you would want others to act on them if they were about you. The Bible furthermore requires that false witnesses be made to suffer the same punishment their false testimony would have brought on the falsely accused (Dt. 19:18-19). This also means that the accused have the right to face and question and cross-examine their accusers.
Incidentally, this is precisely what Jesus was appealing to in the famous story of the woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8). Jesus was actually quoting from Deuteronomy 17 which says that the hands of the witnesses shall be the first to cast the stones of execution (Dt. 17:5-7). Jesus was not suggesting that only someone who is completely innocent of any sin could be a witness against the woman. Jesus was saying that whoever was willing to be cross-examined as a witness could cast the first stone. “Without sin” means without any guile, a true testimony, and since they were accusing the woman of being caught in the “very act” of adultery, a good defense attorney would no doubt have a number of questions for that witness about how he was in a position to know that the adultery was taking place.
Was he also guilty of the same crime? Had he been involved in a conspiracy to entrap the woman? And for a bunch of the men gathered, they had likely only heard the rumors, or perhaps they had slept with the woman themselves. At any rate, when no witnesses or accusers remained, Jesus did what the law required and exonerated the woman, while charging her to “go and sin no more.” The implication is that she was likely guilty of something related to the charges, but God’s justice is actually far more merciful than humanistic lawyering. Yes, that means that sometimes, lacking two or three witnesses, true criminals will be let free. And in God’s world it is better that an occasional crime goes unpunished than for innocents to be convicted without clear testimony.
Some Kind of Psychotic
But all of this is merely the introduction to my main point, which is that our land is some kind of psychotic and schizophrenic. On the one hand, we breathlessly share juicy rumors of sexual abuse, and on the other hand, we insist on PRIDE festivals and parades, where children are given popsicles shaped like genitalia. On the one hand, we share stories of churches that welcome repentant pedophiles (with all kinds of accountability and safeguards in place), while we insist that Drag Queens be allowed access to children’s story hours in public libraries. Our culture insists on pornographic material being used for so-called sex education, and then we are somehow shocked when predators emerge in our midst. Look, the point is very simple: you cannot encourage sexual immorality and then be shocked when you get it.
Of course this goes back to Darwin, Rousseau, Freud, and their descendants who rejected God as Creator and Definer of human existence and human happiness. These liars and frauds insisted that people must create and define themselves, and Freud, in particular, insisted that the very center of human happiness is sexual stimulation and pleasure. While Freud recognized that some of those desires had to be repressed for society to function, he set up the framework for the internal tension between sexual desire and society, preparing the way for others who would begin pushing the boundaries, until we arrived at the present, with Drag Queens twerking in public parks and children being taught that this is normal human behavior. While the whole thing really is driven by lust, the pseudo-academic defense of this grooming is that repressed sexual desires will come out in violence if they are not allowed to be explored early on. But that is simply false and a complete lie.
The opposite is actually true. The more you feed the fire of lust, the bigger the blaze. You cannot cut the brake lines and then call for a halt at some point down that grade. You cannot reject the God of Heaven and natural law and then say, but we draw the line here. You cannot swear up and down that you believe in the sacred goddess of Consent, and then be shocked to find out that with enough popsicles and twerking, you can get Consent anywhere, anytime.
The name of this is grooming, and as any abuse-advocate worth their salt will tell you, even if you got “consent,” it is still abuse because it is still wrong. But there we are appealing to a standard. There we are appealing to an immoveable, transcendent law. And if you want a right and wrong, that doesn’t budge, that cannot be moved by lustful whims of evil men, then it must be established by God Himself. Otherwise, you are only enshrining the preferences, the traditions, the sensibilities of a mob, even a very well-dressed and semi-civilized mob, that goes by the name democratic consensus. Remember what Benjamin Franklin once said, democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner.
So what will it be? God or man? Christ or chaos? The law of God or the lusts of man? There is no neutrality. There is no middle ground. Do you want to protect children? Do you want to see women honored? Then you cannot do it your way. You cannot appeal to common sense. You cannot appeal to reason. You cannot appeal to science. All of those, divorced from the Maker, divorced from His Word, will only give you more of the same, as will all the luke-warm middling attempts of conservatives to appease the masses (but enough about the DailyWire bowing and scraping before Dave Rubin’s freezers full of breastmilk).
NBC’s Meet the Press just did a story on our church community, and it was pretty hilarious how the round table discussed our church like we were some kind of aboriginal tribe in the jungles, describing wide-eyed how we want to make our city a Christian town and we believe that wives should submit to their husbands, and we don’t believe in gay marriage or abortion, sort of like an airline pilot coming on over the loudspeaker to announce that in the benighted days of yore, people used to believe in this superstitious notion of gravity, obsolete notions of thrust and lift and force, but now we know that planes just fly all by themselves. I mean, our nation was built on deep reverence for the Christian Scriptures, honoring the institution of marriage and the marriage bed, and whatever our foibles and sins (and there were many), there was a widespread attempt to make this a Christian land, a city on a hill, with Christian marriage and morality at the center.
As Diana Schaub at the Heritage Foundation summarizes Alexander de Tocqueville’s description of early America: “Despite the official separation of church and state, there is an “indirect action” of religion on politics through [mores] [or moral habits]. “It is in regulating the family,” says Tocqueville, that religion “works to regulate the state.” Religious governance of the private sphere—in other words, the superintendence of sexual purity in particular—is direct, whereas the beneficial political consequences of that moral control are indirect. Religion serves as the “safeguard of mores,” and mores then become the “guarantee of laws.”
Elsewhere, Schaub cites Tocqueville’s famous appraisal of the situation of women in marriage: “As for me, I shall not hesitate to say it: although in the United States the woman scarcely leaves the domestic circle and is in certain respects very dependent within it, nowhere does her position seem higher to me; and now that I approach the end of this book where I have shown so many considerable things done by Americans, if one asked me to what do I think one must principally attribute the singular prosperity and growing force of this people, I would answer that it is to the superiority of its women” (emphasis mine).
It was pretty funny that while women were given a voice to criticize our church community in the NBC special, they were not given a voice from within our church community. It may be because the illusion of oppression would have been utterly exposed.
But the point is that if you will not have Christ and His Word, you are left with the words and whims of man. If you will not honor the Maker in whose image male and female is created and defined, then you will inevitably end up with cultures seeking to redefine what male and female and sexuality and marriage are. Whenever people deny God, they are always looking for a job opening. And when cultures are grooming little deviant gods, taught to follow their own heart, to do whatever makes them happy, and there are options on full display in public parks, do not tell me that you care about children, about women, or about abuse. If you do not see it there, you are a major part of the problem.
All of these things are related, in other words. And when anyone shows up saying that they want to help you with sexual abuse, you should be asking a bunch of questions. Things like: What is marriage? What is a woman? What is a man? What is your standard for justice, evidence, due process, and penalties? And if they do not go to the Word, to the Bible, then there is no light in them (Is. 8:20).