Today, December 8, 2016, the board of directors of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) issued a public statement in support of Tullian Tchividjian’s victims. In this statement – which constitutes five pages – they outlined a number of important steps they believe every church must take to prevent abuse and predation within the church, calling for significant reforms at all levels of church ministry and pastoral education.
I encourage everyone to read and learn from the complete text of the statement, available here:
The following is an excerpt from the statement:
Dear victims – and you are indeed victims. You have suffered and we do not want to add our silence to that suffering. Once again, one of God’s shepherds used his position of authority, his gift of words, his intellect and personality to draw you in when you were vulnerable and in need of care. All power belongs to Christ. Any power we have is derivative and sacred and to be used only for His glory and the good of His people. Anything less is an abuse of that power. You have been victims of the gross misuse of power God intended for your good. We grieve with you. We stand with you in the light. You have with courage exposed the deeds of darkness. Thank you, for we as the Body of Christ need your voices but now that the light shines a failure to respond on our part means we have turned from the light you turned on. We pray for you, knowing full well that each and every one of you has a hard road ahead as you seek newness of life, healing and a restoring of your souls. We pray that the failure of a shepherd will not lead you to forsake the Good and Great Shepherd who turns tables over and cracks whips when those in His church rob His sheep and distort the truth of who God is. We also pray that God will multiply the fruit of your hard labor to step into light to cause the greater body to examine itself regarding the many silenced victims that live in its midst.
This statement is of particular significance, as the board of directors includes two of Tullian’s family members – his brother, Boz (who founded GRACE), and his uncle, Emmanuel – as well as abuse advocates from all over the nation, including notable figures Justin Holcomb and Diane Langberg.
In addition to the support and encouragement that have been offered in private conversation by some of these members, their public stand with the victims and their call for reform in the church regarding the treatment of abuse victims and the discipline of abusive pastors are greatly appreciated.
**Cover image is the Twitter bio picture for GRACE as of 12/8/16**