The statement below was approved on January 18, 2014, by the Georgia Foothills Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The PCA is a denominational member of the World Reformed Fellowship and several WRF members, including one WRF Board member, worked to craft this statement. It is likely that this statement will go to the 2014 PCA General Assembly which will meet in June in Houston, Texas.
Questions about this material may be addressed to Sam Logan, International Director of the WRF [ firstname.lastname@example.org ].
An article aboput this overture was published in "byFaith," the online magazine of the PCA. That article may be read here - http://byfaithonline.com/overture-pushes-to-renew-child-protection/
Comments about the statement can be added to the website by WRF members. Those comments must be no more than 200 words in length. If a WRF member desires to make more lengthy comments, those may be submitted as a blog and they will be reviewed by the Publications Committee of the WRF Board.
A Statement on Child Protection in the PCA
WHEREAS our Lord Jesus demonstrated his righteous anger at his own disciples, rebuking those who would do anything to prevent children from coming unto him, saying “to such belongs the Kingdom of God,” (Mark 10:14) and condemning those who would harm children, saying “it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6); and
WHEREAS an epidemic of child sexual abuse exists in our culture, with the vast majority of such children being harmed by someone they know and trust, wounding children physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually with lifelong ripple effects; and
WHEREAS the silence of the church – when we fail to appropriately address “rape, incest, sodomy and all unnatural lusts” (WLC 139) by not reporting disclosures of child sexual abuse, or not caring for those who disclose child sexual abuse, or not proactively taking steps to prevent child sexual abuse – is a fundamental failure of servant leadership, rendering the church complicit and culpable before the Lord, driving people away from the safety, healing and hope of Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS Scripture warns leaders against the “careless exposing, or leaving [those in their care] to wrong, temptation, and danger” (WLC 130), and every jurisdiction acknowledges that child sexual abuse is a serious felony and has its own mandated reporting laws; THEREFORE, be it
RESOLVED that we exhort all church leaders to become informed and to take an active stance toward preventing child sexual abuse in the church by screening staff and volunteers, training them in child protection, and actively maintaining child protection policies pertaining to our obligations to love our children and protect their rightful interests as God’s image-bearers from the devastating actions of abusers (Matthew 18:5-6; WLC 129-130); and be it further
RESOLVED that we remind all churches that the heinous crime of child sexual abuse must be reported to duly appointed, God-ordained civil authorities, and that we must cooperate with those authorities as they “bear the sword” to punish those who do evil “in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered...to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever” (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14; WCF 23.3); and be it further
RESOLVED that we urge all church leaders to use their influence for the protection of children, by any and all godly means, including preaching and teaching against the heinous sin of child sexual abuse, warning anyone with knowledge of these sins to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11), and by supporting victims who often suffer in silence and shame without the vocal and compassionate support of the church; and be it further
RESOLVED that we direct the Permanent Committees and Agencies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to review their policies, procedures and practices in the area of child protection, including their response to child sexual abuse disclosures, their faithfulness in reporting child sexual abuse to duly appointed God-ordained civil authorities, their care for survivors of child sexual abuse, and their future plans to help educate the PCA on child sexual abuse, and report back to the 43rd General Assembly; and be it finally
RESOLVED that the 42nd General Assembly urge all members of the PCA to renew our allegiance to our Lord Jesus by loving our children as he loves our children, “for to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).