Abuse in the Church? Be Ye Warmed and Filled!

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

James 2:14-17

Let me ask you, how appropriate is it when church leaders tell abuse victims to stay in their homes, pray, submit, have faith, and trust God to defend them – or not, if He so wills? How godly is it when church and denominational leaders sweep clergy abuse under the carpet or fail to protect those under their leadership from known predators?

I have written elsewhere on this site about the fact that I had multiple pastors, over multiple consultations with them about the abuse happening in my home, over the course of many years, who told me to stay and “suffer for righteousness sake.” They told me to my face, that while I may need to leave my husband for safety, they would not publicly stand for me and my children. Even when they didn’t say it directly, their actions definitely said the same thing.

It occurred to me last night that in effect, what all these pastors and the various counselors we saw were saying was, “Be warmed and filled.”

One of the hallmarks of genuine believers is that they provide for the needy and widows, and stand up for the afflicted. (I Tim. 5:10, James 1:27 – fatherless would certainly include having a father who not only failed to be father, protector and provider but puts his family in danger). According to James 2:1, when the church, or church leadership, fail to actively come to the aid of the abused in the church they are literally revealing they do NOT have “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is not something that is negotiable in God’s church. The church’s failure to actively stand for the afflicted within their own doors says more than any membership roles, fancy programming, denominational applause, or any of the other human measure of “Christian” success.

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Matthew 7:16-22

The Word says we will be known by our fruit. The fruit of the church’s awareness of and response to the abuse occurring under its own roof is reeking like a week-old dumpster baking in the sun.

The Word also says those who fail to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Those are God’s words, not mine. And let me ask, how can anyone who has the Spirit at work in them, deliberately turn a blind eye to the plain Word of God? I believe it is impossible — which says a lot for those places where the church has rotten fruit giving aromatic testimony to unpleasant realities hiding in its dark corners.