Oh, did I type that outloud?
Sometimes my husband will give me research assignments. They usually stem from reading the latest blog post or article written by or about a current Christian leader or organization – yep. You guessed it. The Houston Chronicle and the Southern Baptist Convention… But what really caught his attention was J. D. Greear’s blog post: “700 is not the Total Number: How to Get Help”
Of course… that “Help” isn’t found in the church.
Mr. Greear is the new President of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). I had high hopes for J. D. I had heard him preach – in the past – and I loved it.
Now… Eh, not so much.
Tolerance for just about anything, seems to be the name of the game when listening to the current leaders found in and around the SBC including the blasphemous Russell Moore and his band of whitewashed tombs.
I might add, J. D. was quick to quote Russell Moore: “Jesus does not cover up sin within the temple of his presence. He brings everything hidden to light. We should too.”
Yes Mr. Moore, we should bring it to light, so let’s do that shall we?
J.D. Greear writes a blog, it can be found at his Ministry page – appropriately and pridefully entitled: “J.D. Greear Ministries.”
He posted a blog in response to the Houston Chronicle’s series on the sexual assault charges (700) that they have exposed in the Southern Baptist Convention – J. D. writes:
“But anger and grief, while appropriate responses, are not sufficient to protect victims. What can easily be lost in the size of these numbers, which are grievously large, is the tragic fact that they cannot be the whole story”
You are correct J. D., 700 is not the “whole story.”
Simple statistical probabilities will tell you that when you have 1 out of every 4 women as victims of domestic abuse, 1 out of 3 victims of sexual assault and 1 out of 4 men as victims of domestic abuse and 1 out of every 6 men victims of sexual assault and the majority never get reported, investigated, or even written up as “incident reports” let alone prosecuted…. and there are over 15,000,000 churches that are members of the SBC (I would have to have the exact number of members to do the math) … But, yes Mr. J. D. Greear, there is definitely more to the story.
But Mr. Greear does not point to the cross… but then again, why would he? The fact is that in the thirty-five years that I have been in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault – there has NEVER been a church who wanted to take any of our Christ-centered, biblical-trainings on either subject, let alone both.
It’s mind boggling, really. Even after bringing in speakers or educators… nothing. Nada!
To add insult to injury – J. D. Puts the Bible away as he states his solution to “How to Get Help” … Not only does he give out three phone numbers to OVERTLY Jesus-Hating, Christian persecuting, far-left liberal groups…
He does not list the church as an option until #6.
And this is what he says:
“6. When you are ready, involve your current church in your recovery journey. This assumes you are not in the same church where your abuser is in leadership. It is understandable if you do not take this step for a while. Don’t feel rushed.”
Oh, I can bet he doesn’t want the victim to be in a hurry or “rush.” As a matter of fact, did you catch the second sentence? “This [contacting your church] assumes you are not in the same church where you abuser is in leadership.”
Why must we avoid going to the church if the abuser is in leadership?
Unfortunately, this is the message I hear every, single day. This is the message that is sent to the church by our church… DON’T COME HERE!
The second issue is that when the victim does come to the church, the church is the first to push it under the rug or ignore it – worse is when they allow the abuser to quietly step down and go do it again, somewhere else (more on that, click here), by the way the Houston Chronicle was quick to note how often these evil individuals, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” were allowed to roam free and repeat their offenses again and again and again.
But again, I go to the research –
Literature has shown us over and over again the benefits of trained clergy in times like these – and let’s not forget what the Bible has to say either: “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.””
Oh wait, that would involve church discipline… a long and forgotten command of Jesus.
So back to the literature.
There was huge reason that we designed our Batterer Intervention Program (BIP). It was due to the research and the fact that after I returned to the field of domestic violence/sexual abuse (kicking and screaming, I might add) – I realized that after being absent for a decade, nothing – not one single thing, had changed.
Except it was getting worse:
According the Department of Justice Statistics, the period between 1995 through 2004 demonstrated that the rate of domestic violence had a substantial drop by almost 50 percent. However, since then domestic violence has increased as has the rate of recidivism. Recidivism is the increase in risk that follows an initial victimization (that is, the tendency towards repeat victimization) and is apparent for a variety of crimes (Johnson & Bowers, 2004).
In addition, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) also reports an 88 percent increase in domestic violence victim services (NNEDV, 2016). Not only is domestic violence escalating, it is becoming more apparent in America’s male youth (Dines, 2015).
According to the FBI and the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, domestic violence is committed by men 99% of the time (as cited by U.S. Department of Justice, 2009) and research states that the “punitive measures being taken against domestic violence offenders are least likely to deter (and perhaps will even exacerbate) tendencies to quarrel among persons who lack community and/or familial bonds” (Sherman, Smith, Schmidt, & Rogan, 1992, p. 681).
The federal Justice Department also found that intervention programs have “little to no impact on reoffending, nor do they change the attitudes of the offender. In fact, according to an NIJ update in 2009, some programs actually seem to make abusers more likely to abuse. 
The church has also failed in their mission to address this problem. Not many churches even speak to the issue of domestic violence but outsource to other agencies and people they see as professionals that they feel are better equipped to handle the crisis.
The simple fact that J.D., the SBC, and Christian churches across the nation chose to not address this problem, let alone speak of abuse from the pulpit – but OUTSOURCE it to non-Christian organizations, is an abomination! It goes against all Christian doctrine.
If Jesus’ commands of church discipline, speaking out for the oppressed, and fighting for justice for those who can’t, are not enough for you brood of vipers – Then look at the psychological research:
As a commitment to religiosity increases, marital commitment increases as does marital satisfaction. (Sullivan, 2001). In addition, offenders who are referred by their clergy are more likely (like by 90% more likely) to complete a batterer intervention program (BIP).
Did I mention we have a Batterer Intervention Program?
Did I mention that we have a DV/SA Training program for churches, complete with ongoing training (including the judicial system, investigation, and forensics), class curriculums, counseling guides, victim’s Bible studies, and a national network of CHRISTIAN resources?
But… it does include accountability – so… well then, I guess we have our answer.
If you are not going to do anything about sexual assault, (and let’s just throw in domestic violence for good measure), Southern Baptist Convention and Mr. President, J. D. Greear – you could at least support those who are willing to literally be the hands and feet of Christ.
Holly T. Ashley
Redemption. Restoration. Recovery. (R3) Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Services and Training (A Division of: Cross Strength Ministries)
 Ashley, H. T. (November 15, 2017). [Experimental Design Introduction]. Unpublished: Copyrights belong to: Holly T. Ashley and Cross Strength Ministries and are registered with the United States Copyright Office.
Dines, G. (2015). Today’s pornography and the crisis of violence against women and children. In: A public health Crisis: How pornography fuels sex trafficking, child exploitation, and sexual assault by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. A collection of papers from symposium held at the U.S. Capitol on July 14, 2015.
Johnson, S.D. and Bowers, K.J. (2004). The burglary as clue to the future: The beginnings of prospective hotspotting. European Journal of Criminology, 1(2): 237-255.
Lasley, J. (2003). The effect of intensive bail supervision on repeat domestic violence offenders. Policy Studies Journal, 31(2), 187-207. doi:10.1111/1541-0072.00011
NNEDV. (National Network to End Domestic Violence). (2016). Domestic violence counts 2015 A 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters and services. Retrieved from http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2015/DVCounts15_NatlReport.compressed.pdf.
Sherman, L., Smith, D., Schmidt, J. D., and Rogan, D. P. (1992). Crime, punishment and stake in conformity: Legal and informal control of domestic violence. American Sociological Review, 52, 680–690.
Sullivan, K. T. (2001). Understanding the relationship between religiosity and marriage: An investigation of the immediate and longitudinal effects of religiosity on newlywed couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 15(4), 610-626. doi:10.1037/0893-3220.127.116.110
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics Selected Findings. (2009). Female victims of violence. (NCJ Publication No. 228356).