Sept. 25, 2019
By Sarabeth Caplin
As we posted on this site in July, Matt Chandler, the pastor of The Village Church in Texas, was at the center of a sexual assault controversy. He hadn’t done anything abusive himself, but after a member of his church was accused of sexually violating an 11-year-old girl, we learned that Chandler didn’t tell his own congregation who the accused person was. In fact, he told them the accused person didn’t have “access to children at the Village Church”… which was only technically true because the suspect no longer worked there.
Then it got worse. Even after Chandler knew about the allegations, he emailed the congregation to say the man was leaving the church due to an “alcohol abuse problem.” Nothing else. The church gave that man a severance package. The third party that was hired by the church to oversee an investigation happened to be owned by people who also served as legal advisers for the church. The victim is now suing the church for $1 million.
In short, Chandler was a perfect example of how to do everything wrong after learning about a sexual abuse incident.
And yet, just days before the Southern Baptist Convention is holding a conference on caring for abuse survivors, the group is promoting a book written by Chandler.
Not the smartest of PR moves.
Bob Allen at Baptist News Global explains that the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is hosting a conference in early October on the topic of “Equipping the Church to Confront the Abuse Crisis.” It comes in response to the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News coverage of sexual abuse scandals within the SBC.
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