3 Ways to Respond When a Church Leader Is Found Guilty of Abuse

Jun 30, 2019 by

by Christopher Ash, The Gospel Coalition:

How does a church come to terms with revelations of abuse by a leader, especially when the accusations have been established as fact?

In 1 Timothy 5:19, Paul writes, “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Referring back to an Old Testament law, the expression “two or three witnesses” is a biblical idiom for careful and independent attestation of the truth of the accusations. This acknowledges that false accusations are sometimes leveled at church leaders.

But how should we respond when the accused is found guilty? Of course, it’s of first importance to comfort, love, and help the victims of abuse. And it’s critical to ask what lessons the particular church or institution can learn from the tragic revelation. Are there unrecognized elements within the church or other ministry that have allowed abuse to take place? What can be done to keep this from happening again?

Such vital questions are beyond the scope of this article, but I want to consider three broader ways we should respond when an influential leader whom many respect is exposed for abusing those in his care.

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