In Deb's post today on Wartburg Watch, she introduced me to a man I have not previously known. He is Boz Tchividjian, J.D., professor of Law at Liberty University and Founder of GRACE, a ministry whose name means "Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment." Deb writes that Boz responded to a statement from three well-respected men--Mark Dever (Southern Baptist), Ligon Duncan (Presbyterian Church of America) and Al Mohler (Southern Baptist)--which supported and defended C.J. Mahaney, founder of Sovereign Grace Ministries. The three men to whom Boz Tchividian responded are also extremely intellectual, very influential--and until now--seemingly impervious to any criticism. Not any more. After Boz Tchividjian responded to their defense of C.J. and Sovereign Grace Ministries, they took their statement down. Boz Tchividjian J.D. wrote:
Why is no mention made that the heart of this lawsuit is about a systematic church effort to discourage and eventually prevent the families of children who were allegedly (and repeatedly) sexually victimized by church officials from speaking out and reporting to law enforcement. This lawsuit is less about the abuse and more about an institution that took steps to protect itself and it's reputation over the victimized souls (and bodies) of little ones. Omitting such a fundamental fact from this statement is a fundamental error.
Why no mention that CJ Mahaney was actually the Senior Pastor at one of these churches where all of this horrific abuse allegedly occurred AND that discouraged these families from bringing this matter to the God ordained civil authorities? Omitting such a fundamentally important fact from this statement is a fundamental error.
This lawsuit was dismissed for one reason and one reason only…expiration of the statute of limitation. Isn't it tragic that the reason why this suit was dismissed – taking too long to file – was the very objective of these church leaders when they discouraged these precious souls from stepping forward.
Many of these men have not hesitated to write (or tweet) on the Penn State horrors, gays in the Boy Scouts, and Universal healthcare, but have been conspicuously quiet on this issue…just doesn't sit right with me (and apparently a lot of others). And when they finally speak, what is omitted speaks more than what is said.
What these men don't realize is that their silence is pushing a large group of precious souls farther and farther from the Church…and our glorious and gracious God. [sigh]
Boz Tchividjian, J.D.
Executive Director, GRACE
Whoa! This is what could be called in Bronx parlance "a punch to the gut." Boz Tchividjian's response to the statement of defense by these three respected men is a game changer. Check out the Board of Directors of GRACE. Check out the Partnerships with GRACE. I spent this morning checking out GRACE. I'm impressed. Like Wartburg Watch, GRACE gets it.
(1). The kingdom and people in the kingdom are far more important than any Christian institution and the intellectual, authoritative leaders in charge of those Christian institutions.
(2). The days of cover-up, silence and loyal protection of fellow leaders is over. When wrongs occur, kingdom people right the wrongs, regardless of those involved.
(3). Like Luther's Wittenberg door, the Internet is the new place of challenge. It used to be institutional leaders discounted blogs as "people blogging in their mother's basement," but only those out of touch with reality now cling to that belief.
Wartburg Watch and GRACE are kingdom ministries, run by kingdom people not afraid to challenge Christian institutional leaders unfamiliar with challenges. The sooner an institutional leader concerned with the loyal protection of a friend realizes that fact, the better off his institution will be.