He’s been in the news during the separation of Covenant Life Church and their denominational links to Sovereign Grace Ministries over the last year. Last Sunday Harris was in the news again when he revealed that as a child he’d been sexually abused by someone in the church. Pilgrim’s Road Trip blog wrote about this in “He kissed the secret of his childhood sexual abuse goodbye”
Ironically this comes just as SGM is dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse and years of cover ups by those in charge at SGM. But SGM is hardly the only high profile ministry being accused of sexual abuse of children. Every day it seems like more allegations come out in churches and ministries nationwide of those in power using that said power to sexually abuse someone under the age of consent, such as Tom White of Voice of the Martyrs and pastor Geronimo Aguilar of Richmond Outreach Center.
While I may not love the courtship advice in Josh Harris’ book I have to applaud him for standing up and admitting he had been abused. That takes balls, real courage and the ability to be open to others.
I know from personal experience that dealing with the abuse is an every day thing, it never goes away and it impacts your interactions with others, your ability to trust and your self esteem. Telling everyone the truth of what happened to you is a mighty scary thing, even as once you tell it helps you on your path to healing. You start being able to lay that toxic burden down.
Joshua Harris in his own words from Out of Ur:
This past Sunday, while addressing the allegations against the Sovereign Grace organization in your Sunday sermon, you shared that you suffered abuse as a child. Did you wrestle with whether to share this and why did you think this was the best time?
Yes, I did wrestle with the decision to share that part of my story. Even as I was preaching I found myself thinking, “Do you really want to open this up?” But I made that choice because I hoped that my vulnerability would make it easier for other victims of abuse to step forward and get help. My hope is that a person would hear me and think, “Okay, if the pastor can admit that in front of the church then I can call the police and tell someone what is happening to me. I can get counseling. I can tell my story, too.” It’s very difficult because it feels like such a shameful thing, but we need to learn how to talk about sexual abuse in the church. We need to teach people who have been abused that it’s not their fault. And we need to believe that God’s grace is mighty enough to meet us and transform us even in this painful part of our lives.
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NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce