The Southern Baptist Convention began its annual meeting yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama. According to its president, the denomination faces “a defining moment” that will shape the church for generations to come. In focusing on the crisis of sexual abuse, Dr. J. D. Greear stated, “This is not a distraction from the mission. Protecting God’s children is the mission of the church.”
In response, messengers approved last night an amendment making it explicit that an individual church can be expelled from the denomination if it mishandles or covers up sexual abuse cases. They also established a special committee to evaluate such claims against churches.
Speaking the previous evening at a panel discussion on this issue, well-known author and speaker Beth Moore stated: “One of my great concerns is, abuse happens anywhere humanity happens. What I want so much for us to reckon with honestly is our culture makes us vulnerable because there is a disparity between the way we value men and women.”
Why does this disparity exist in our culture today?
TWO POISONOUS ROOTS
One root cause is the endemic scourge of prejudice that plagues humanity.
I define prejudice as the temptation for people who feel inferior to devalue others based on unchanging factors such as skin color and gender. The sentiment, stated or unstated, runs like this: “I may be less successful than you, but I’ll always be white and you’ll always be black (or brown, or female, etc.).”
A second root cause is sexual lust. When men see women as bodies rather than human beings, they objectify and degrade their humanity.
Sexual lust and prejudice against women lead to their commercialization as a means to other ends. For example, the pressure on women to have abortions objectifies their bodies, ignores their emotions, and kills their unborn children. The exploitation of women’s bodies to sell products, the plague of pornography, and the tragedy of sex trafficking are further symptoms.
Such abuse is a true crisis today.
A recent survey found that 81 percent of women had experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime. The difference between the genders is striking: 77 percent of women have been subjected to verbal sexual harassment, compared to 34 percent of men; 51 percent of women have experienced unwanted sexual touching, compared to 17 percent of men; 27 percent of women have been the victims of sexual assault, compared to 7 percent of men.
“THERE IS NO MALE AND FEMALE”
Such abuse grieves the heart of our Father.
Scripture clearly teaches that God made men and women with equal value: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
God’s word also declares that sexual abuse is always wrong. Scripture forbids rape (Deuteronomy 22:25–27). It calls husbands to cherish wives (Ephesians 5:28–29; Colossians 3:19; Hebrews 13:4) and men to encourage and support women (cf. Philippians 4:3).
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Source: Christian Headlines