With all the publicity about child abuse in the church, with the church having to deal with what happened on its watch, it would be easy to think that there might be a mood to consider the wider implications. After all, the abuse of children (and other vulnerable people) is only one area in which the church has strayed from its biblical origins. However, if you’d thought that, you would be quite wrong.
Indeed, in regard to the issue of pastoral care alone, I recently had cause to follow up other instances, where the church has not been as loving or caring as it should have been. This time in regard to its treatment of retired clergy. Unfortunately, I was given the run around before receiving the official response: This is the way our church is—and has been for some time. You can either take it or leave it.
Now even if I was the only person having problems with the church, that would still have been an inappropriate response. It also reflects the familiar attitude of denial from the past. Indeed, it takes the resolution of the issue of child abuse—with its apology, compensation, and preventative measures—and treats it as though the matter has been dealt with, and that’s the end of the issue. It ignores the fact that child abuse was a symptom of a far bigger problem.
As a consequence, lack of care within the church continues to be a real problem. But Christians not caring for other Christians is not an issue that is likely to get much publicity. Which is sad in a sense, because without it, it is hard to see that anything will ever change.
Towards a biblical church.
Posted 1st March 2019
© 2019, Brian A Curtis