The 9th message I brought concerning Peter, I touched upon the issues surrounding many mega Churches and other issues concerning abuse, abusers and the abused.
I view that we cannot gloss over this issue in the context of restoration and stepping into the fullness of the 3rd Passover without first expanding on this troubling issue. It would be a disservice to those who have been subject to abuses on many levels.
Recently, an attempt was made to bring a unified perspective over Todd Bentley by various pastors who were not effective in bringing correction to him. He continued to preach and teach having rejected any restoration time, counselling , therapy. I say this to highlight that the evangelical and charismatic Churches are so fragmented that effective discipline cannot be unified as there are so many denominations.
The question of abuse must become defined; when authority and position steps over recognised spiritual, individual boundaries to satisfy one’s desires be it financial, sexual, or simply controlling one’s authority over personal right to choices. There have been abuses in leadership, in the exercise of leadership, abuses over peoples money. Over people’s time, using fear to bring coercion.
Thinking about those who are abusers. We must define that they are to be subject to discipline in not exercising the ministry they were exercising. They have broken trust and have brought the integrity of the office into disrepute. Abuses must always be addressed via a recognised ecclesiastical structure and must include national justice systems . When we talk about therapy, prayer, restoration, it can only be to bring a thorough process of repentance and not just a short process to regain ministry. The philosophy of ministry to abusers is not restoration to ministry, but restoration of faith and right standing with all. With abuses now being placed in the realm of justice it is obvious some consequences will come. So anything about hoping that the level of ministry that one had whilst abuses took place, it is logical that God and the Church would not place the abuser back in similar territory. Consequences must come from society, from Church leadership, from Churches, so that the abuser knows and sees the seriousness of what they engaged in.
For the abused, it seems they always get the raw end of the deal, and yet at the end they have to live with the devastation. The Church must engage with specific resources to help them retain faith, dignity, and help them trust in the spheres where the abuses took place. The Church needs to do more structurally and sensitively to be able to prevent alienation that abuse provokes when it is exposed. For the Church as a whole there needs to be a new attitude of the fear of the Lord which should serve to demonstrate the seriousness of abuses.
I hope this goes some way to clarify what I meant about restoration even of abusers.