A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Abuse and Denial: More Reasons Why Pastors Don’t Stand With Abuse Victims — from Judith Herman

Once more, Judith Herman’s book, Trauma and Recovery [*affiliate link], provides us with wonderful insight into why so many church leaders minimize, trivialize, and dismiss abuse victims.  Listen to Herman’s summation here of what Sigmund Freud found in the early years of his research on “hysteria” (i.e., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder):

This empathic identification with his patients’ reactions is characteristic of Freud’s early writings on hysteria. His case histories reveal a man possessed of such passionate curiosity that he was willing to overcome his own defensiveness, and willing to listen. What he heard was appalling. Repeatedly his patients told him of sexual assault, abuse, and incest.

Following back the thread of memory, Freud and his patients uncovered major traumatic events of childhood concealed beneath the more recent, often relatively trivial experiences that had actually triggered the onset of hysterical symptoms. By 1896 Freud believed he had found the source. In a report on eighteen case studies, entitled The Aetiology of Hysteria, he made a dramatic claim: “I therefore put forward the thesis that at the bottom of every case of hysteria there are one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience, occurrences which belong to the earliest years of childhood, but which can be reproduced through the work of psycho-analysis in spite of the intervening decades. I believe that this is an important finding, the discovery of a caput Nili in neuropathology.””

A century later, this paper still rivals contemporary clinical descriptions of the effects of childhood sexual abuse. It is a brilliant, compassionate, eloquently argued, closely reasoned document. Its triumphant title and exultant tone suggest that Freud viewed his contribution as the crowning achievement in the field. Instead, the publication of The Aetiology of Hysteria marked the end of this line of inquiry.

Within a year, Freud had privately repudiated the traumatic theory of the origins of hysteria. His correspondence makes clear that he was increasingly troubled by the radical social implications of his hypothesis. Hysteria was so common among women that if his patients’ stories were true, and if his theory were correct, he would be forced to conclude that what he called “perverted acts against children” were endemic, not only among the proletariat of Vienna, where he had first studied hysteria, but also among the respectable bourgeois families of Vienna, where he had established his practice. This idea was simply unacceptable. It was beyond credibility.

Faced with this dilemma, Freud stopped listening to his female patients. The turning point is documented in the famous case of Dora. This, the last of Freud’s case studies on hysteria, reads more like a battle of wits than a cooperative venture. The interaction between Freud and Dora has been described as “emotional combat.”Z’ In this case Freud still acknowledged the reality of his patient’s experience: the adolescent Dora was being used as a pawn in her father’s elaborate sex intrigues. Her father had essentially offered her to his friends as a sexual toy. Freud refused, however, to validate Dora’s feelings of outrage and humiliation. Instead, he insisted upon exploring her feelings of erotic excitement, as if the exploitative situation were a fulfillment of her desire. In an act that Freud viewed as revenge, Dora broke off the treatment.

Out of the ruins of the traumatic theory of hysteria, Freud created psychoanalysis. The dominant psychological theory of the next century was founded in the denial of women’s reality. Sexuality remained the central focus of inquiry. But the exploitative social context in which sexual relations actually occur became utterly invisible. Psychoanalysis became a study of the internal vicissitudes of fantasy and desire, dissociated from the reality of experience. By the first decade of the twentieth century, without ever offering any clinical documentation of false complaints, Freud had concluded that his hysterical patients’ accounts of childhood sexual abuse were untrue: “I was at last obliged to recognize that these scenes of seduction had never taken place, and that they were only fantasies which my patients had made up.”

Judith Herman. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (pp. 13-14). Kindle Edition.

I hardly need to make the analogy, right?  Just as Freud could not deal with the implications of what his findings meant (that a large number of leading folk in Vienna were child-molesting perverts), so today pastors, church leaders, and church members cannot accept the consequences they sense would result if we started believing the abuse victims in our churches.  The elephant in the room would become visible for all to see.  If we admit that saintly Mr. Smith is, in fact, a fake saint who has been abusing his wife and children for years, then just how many other Mr. Smiths might be hiding in our pews in disguise?  How many other victims whose stories we have disbelieved were, in fact, telling the truth?

The Trojan Horse would have entered Troy and conquered the city some time back.  And we wouldn’t  even know.

 

* Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ  gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link

 

45 Comments

  1. Amen to the “Trojan Horse” observation. I believe that it applies to far more than the subject of abuse, however.

    • Jeff Crippen

      For sure, Larry! Like to false doctrine, those hidden reefs who sneak into the church in disguise. Because we aren’t careful and immersed in Scripture, we tow the horse right on inside.

  2. Katy

    I am shocked by the origins of Freud’s psychoanalyzing. I have never read too much about him. What an utterly tragic, disgusting and yet TYPICAL response.
    everything remains the same. there is nothing new under the sun. 😦

    • Barnabasintraining

      Yeah. How about that? He couldn’t handle the truth so he invented this elaborate system designed to deny it, basically. Incredible.

  3. Kelly

    This makes so much sense. I have always struggled with why the church leaders I turned to seemed more intent on making me into a better wife than calling my husband on his abusive behavior. He didn’t even try to hide it in front of them. He was belligerent and angry, even as we met with them. The truth is, it was just easier to address me. It was easier to blame me. Because dealing with him would have meant dealing with his anger, and his equally angry family, and who needs that kind of trouble? It still breaks my heart, but I am beginning to understand….

    • Jeff Crippen

      And thus, you grow stronger:)

  4. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  5. jodi

    Wow! Wow!and Wow!

  6. Loren Haas

    This seems to be part of the ongoing scandal at Sovereign Grace Ministries. “We can’t report sexual abuse in our church. What would that say about us?” What it says is the Spirit is not in them.

    • Now Free

      Loren, I did a very quick search of Sovereign Grace Ministries and found they have been concealing sexual abuse within their flock.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_Grace_Ministries

      Aha, that is why this “church” does not want to report abuse. So not good for the image you know? Not to mention the pocketbook.

      • Jeff S

        Yes, SGM is in really big trouble. It’s a network of churches and that has created a very hostile environment for victims of abuse (one allegation is forcing a 3 year old sexual advise victims to “forgive” her adviser).

        Sadly, very few Christians are talking about it, though if this were a “liberal” church or secular institution (a University maybe?) I suspect they would not be holding back.

      • There is actually an online petition for National Evangelical Leaders to stop the silence around all the SGM scandals. I guess there are a lot of Christians who are rightfully upset that CJ Mahaney was chosen to speak at both The Southeastern annual 20/20 Collegiate Conference and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary earlier this month as if nothing was going on.

        http://www.causes.com/actions/1730803-an-appeal-to-national-leaders-regarding-c-j-mahaney

      • Now Free

        C. J. Mahaney took a leave of absence in 2011 while a team was investigating charges of sexual abuse . Also I see that John Piper was a speaker at one of SGM’s conferences. BIrds of a feather…
        It sure seems to me that both of these “birds” (sorry, my feathered friends) seem to have something in common besides their covert ways regarding abuse? Like taking Leaves of Absence?

      • I think Mahaney’s leave was for allegations of a lack of humility (how ironic is that?!?) and overall character flaws. There was a review board (pretty much all of his friends) that dismissed the allegations and restored him to his position. After that he was confronted with the mishandling of sexual abuse charges.

        http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/8198-former-aide-mahaney-should-be-sidelined

        I have been increasingly concerned over this trend in evangelical circles. I found out a few weeks back that New Tribes Missions also covered up the sexual abuse of 30 or so missionary children abroad throughout the 80s and 90s. The perpetrator is right now walking free without being registered as a sexual offender because New Tribes pulled him out of the Phillipines before the authorities there had a chance to arrest him and press charges against him. There is now nothing that could be done to this man. I bet New Tribes thought they got away with it, hu? But now some of the victims are pressing charges against them instead. http://childrenofsim.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/new-tribes-mission-lawsuit/

        And then there’s the cover-up by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism
        http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/07/04/an-unholy-and-despicable-coverup-of-pedophilia-by-the-association-of-baptists-for-world-evangelism/

        And the whole sex abuse scandal involving Doug Wilson, who actually asked the judge to go easy on the serial child molester, Steven Sitler, and then married a young woman (barely out of her teens) off to the offender upon his release from prison.http://www.newwest.net/index.php/city/article/9225/C136/L136/

        This is now what Evangelicals are going to become known for, along with the Catholic priests.

      • ..and it’s pretty sad that in none of these cases are any prominent Christians speaking out against these reproaches to the name of Christ and His church. I guess friendship comes before justice and righteousness for them…or is it that they are called to be “merciful” to them too?

      • Barnabasintraining

        Desley,

        It is truly horrendous and I can’t for the life of me understand it. It is everywhere in Christendom but should be nowhere.

      • Jeff Crippen

        I guess we don’t believe Jude-

        Jud 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
        Jud 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

        Jude 1:17-19 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. (18) They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” (19) It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

        There is plenty of warning in the Bible. But somehow Christians today, what? Think we are better than this? That surely none of these types would ever come into OUR churches?

      • Jeff S

        Jeff, I think that people do think there is evil in the church, but they think of this evil as bad doctrine, not bad behavior.

        If you can get the soteriology right, then you must not be evil.

        Preachers are quick to speak out against liberalism, humanism, or whatever, counting this as the “false Gospel”; but they fail to see that speaking the right words but not following through with action is just as false (or perhaps even more false).

      • Jeff Crippen

        JeffS- This is a huge point that you make here. It might be right at the heart of the whole mess. I suppose this is what I have tried to explain many times but always come up at a loss for words. I tell people that I can preach minutely verse-by-verse through Romans, for example, and get everything right. My doctrine can be right on. And people can nod their heads that they agree with that correct doctrine. We go to annual denominational assemblies and the topic is always doctrine or history of a doctrine or something like that. But Christ’s truth, as you are pointing out here, is ALIVE. Christ is in us and He lives out through us. Therefore, we need to expose the bad behavior, the wickedness that is in our pews as well as the bad doctrine. And that takes wisdom. It takes a knowledge of evil and sin. It takes being wise as serpents.

        1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

      • But the thing is, these people – Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Carl Trueman – publically defended Mahaney without even checking their facts first. And now there’s absolutely no denying much of the allegations and not one of them has apologized for their presumptuous attacks on the victims. And then Mahaney gets invited to speak at seminaries and conferences? “Any time you’re going to take on the role of leadership, you’re going to have critics,” Al Mohler said of the sexual abuse allegations. And Ligon Duncan takes the cake with his statement regarding the allegations:

        “I would then encourage you to ignore the assaults of wounded people on attack websites and blogs, and that you discount the opinings of those who have no real knowledge of these matters or relation to SGM or authority to comment upon them, and that you refrain from assuming that you (or they) are in a position to render judgment on these things.”

        And not so much as an apology to the victims.

        And Wilson – oh Doug Wilson – what can I say? I don’t even now where to begin. Slaves in the south had it good? Southern slavery wasn’t an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity? Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based on mutual affection and confidence? There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world? The life of the southern slave was one of “simple pleasures”? Seriously??? And then he gets invited not once, but several times to speak at the Desiring God conferences? And he is all buddy buddy with Chuck Colson?

        Now when you couple in the treatment of abuse victims, some of the degrading and harmful things they say about women, the way so many of them bash the poor, etc., I am at a loss.

        Am I the only one who sees something gravely wrong with all of this? I really struggle to love these guys as brothers – the whole lot of them. I don’t think I have ever been so disillusioned with institutionalized Christianity. And I don’t think it’s fair or good to dismiss it all as gossip, as our “leaders” are telling us to do. I want transparency in the churches. Honesty. Integrity. Humility. Goodness.

        And as for soteriology? Satan’s got that down pat. That just makes him all the more a target of the Lord’s coming wrath.

        I really am sorry for ranting and raving here…I just do not understand it.

      • Jeff Crippen

        It does boggle one’s mind, doesn’t it? Do you think that it is fear? I mean, fear of the implications of admitting that the SGM thing is real and that it is as bad as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit say it is. That would mean that the same sins are hiding elsewhere in churches, and that other church leaders – even big name ones – have botched the handling of such cases themselves. Like Freud being afraid to admit the true implications of his first set of findings.

        At some point it seems, “the name of Christ” becomes more important than people. What I mean by that of course is that what human beings call “the name of Christ” requires the covering up of sin in the church and the protection of evil doers at the expense of victims. What “the name and glory of Christ” really means then is “our glory and name” or the reputation of a particular organization or big name leader. Better to sacrifice the innocents to Baal than to uncover Baal as an idol.

        When churches and Christian organizations and Christians come into fame and big money, they are drunkened by the accompanying power. Power corrupted means abuse. Is it really surprising when we listen to Jesus tell us “My strength is perfected in weakness” or “God has chosen the weak things of this world to shame the wise”? The best church in the 7 churches of Asia in Revelation 2-3 appears to be the weakest – Smyrna.

        Apparently we think we have a better plan than Christ or the Apostle Paul –

        1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV
        (1) And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.
        (2) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
        (3) And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,
        (4) and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
        (5) that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

      • Anonymous

        I believe this is clearly a misuse of the Scriptures in 1 Cor. 6. They believe that no one should ever go to Court or to the law for help, but that all matters can be resolved right there within the Church, using Scripture. (I guess they believe that child molesters are Christians, which is why they believe abusers are Christians.) I don’t believe this is what those verses are talking about. I believe those verses are speaking of small matters. Abuse is no small matter, even if they think it is! I believe that when we have broken the laws of the land, that God put in place to protect us, then the Courts need to be brought in. Are we going to start covering up murder in the Church too? I guess in some ways some people already are. There are no standards anymore as to what defines being a Christian. We can do anything we want to, and Christ will take care of it. What an abuse of His grace!

      • Jeff Crippen

        Romans 13 provides the balance. Paul isn’t talking about crimes in 1 Cor 6. That is the realm of the civil magistrate. We do not give up our civil rights when we become Christians. Paul appealed to Caesar. When someone, even if they are a Christian, unrepentantly defrauds us, showing by their behavior that they are not a Christian, we can even use the recourse of a civil lawsuit. We would want to first try to find justice in the church proceedings in the case of a civil tort (ie, not a criminal case), and then to the civil court if necessary. Divorce, for example, is to be dealt with, under law, by the civil courts. You can’t get a divorce by simply going through proceedings in your local church.

      • Anonymous

        That is a fantastic explanation and timely too, I might add.

  7. Anonymous

    Is this why everyone hates psychology and has turned to nouthetic counseling? Trying to understand how this all came about.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I don’t know, but what is really strange is that Jay Adams’ book, Competent to Counsel, opens up with him telling about how he worked with a psychiatrist in some capacity and saw that the guy knew some good things. I think today though people may equate psychology with Freud and thus reject it. Could be. But they are wrong to do so. Psychology is just science. It can be good, or it can be bad.

      • Anonymous

        The consensus among psychologists, for a good half a century, has been that while Freud laid the foundations of psychodynamic theory, he was “off” in many ways. His own proteges disagreed with him, and many branched in different directions, some expanding on his ideas, others taking a different direction. The statistics show that the majority of psychologists today do not see themselves as pscyho-analysts.

        I think the church turned to nouthetic counseling because it claimed to be Biblically-based and what Christian wouldn’t want counselling to be based on the Word of God rather than man’s secular theories? What we don’t always get is that calling something “godly” or “Word-based” doesn’t necessarily make it so, and we shouldn’t be afraid of theories that come from secular sources if they line up with God’s truth.

      • I have wondered for a long time about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (which was also bashed in the Truth Project). It was talked about as if it had no significance at all. I realize that we find our ultimate satisfaction and joy in the Lord and Maslow didn’t recognize this. But does that really mean we have to polarize and conclude that it has no importance at all?

        Tony Reinke spoke at the DG Pastor’s Conference earlier this week and quoted Robert Murray McCheyne:

        “Christ may be called the keystone of the arch of truth. Take away the keystone of an arch, and the whole becomes a heap of rubbish. The very same stones may be there; but they are all fallen, smothered, and confused — without order, without end. Just so take Christ away, and the whole arch of truth becomes a heap of rubbish. The very same truths may be there; but they are all fallen — without coherence, without order, without end…

        …But let Christ be revealed to an unconverted soul — let it not be merely a man speaking about Christ unto him, but let the Spirit of God reveal Him — and there is revealed, not a truth, but the truth. You put the keystone into the arch of truth; you restore the sun to the center of the system. All truth becomes orderly and serviceable in that mind. …”

        Reinke then explained:

        “Notice that in orienting the universe of our lives to Christ, we do not then say the Bible is the only book we read. We say the Bible, as a revelation of our Christ, centers everything else.

        This is a key point. It opens up a whole new conversation about how a non-Christian can perceive and write about truth, goodness, and beauty (a question I attempt to explain in chapter 5 of Lit!)…”

        I think that is a great way of looking at Psychology. For the person without Christ or the truth, Psychology can become confused and sometimes digress to the point of becoming a heap of rubbish. But for the person with “the mind of Christ” it becomes orderly and serviceable for man.

  8. J. Ann

    Well said, Anonymous.

  9. MeganC

    Jeff — This is fascinating. Thank you for writing this. And it is true! It goes along with what I have heard so many times about pornography . . . “If pornography were adultery, 90% of the men in church would be guilty of adultery!!!” as though I am being absurd. But, I want to nod emphatically and say “Yes! Yes! They are! It is THAT BAD.”

    The churches are THAT BAD right now . . . abuse is rampant. Sigh. We need a reformation so desperately.

    • Katy

      “If pornography were adultery, 90% of the men in church would be guilty of adultery!!!”
      If I ever hear this come out of a man’s mouth in church I will be leaving that church permanently, screw it. I’d rather raise my kids in the wilderness with nothing but a Bible and a few decent neighbors, than sit in a church full of “Christian” men who are regularly viewing porn. The church has seriously come off of its rocker. I know we’ve talked about this before, and the nature of Christian men “struggling” – but there is just no way we can sit here and accept that all men professing Christ also enjoy degrading women.
      In the same way, we don’t accept the Church forcing families to endure horrific abuse in God’s name. We don’t accept people in our churches (professing Jesus as their savior) sexually abusing children.
      This has got to stop.

    • “If pornography were adultery, 90% of the men in church would be guilty of adultery!!!”

      Um…adultery? These same people like to throw around Matthew 5:32 in order to limit divorces to “adultery” – even in cases of abuse. But Jesus never used the specific word for adultery when He said that it was the only grounds for dissolving a marriage bond; he used the word “porneia,” which is broad term for all forms of sexual immorality. Porneia includes prostitution, which is what pornography is.
      Since we like to misuse this passage to “prove” that abuse victims can’t divorce their abusers unless there has been adultery (serial adultery that is, because adultery itself is never enough for them), then don’t we also have to be consistent and apply it around the board even to this 90% of Christian men that are committing sexual immorality through their use of pornography?

      Can you say “GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE?” Jesus, after all, was very clear that “porneia” was grounds for divorce, remember?

      It seems to me that we have set up a system here where men once again get off the hook – both for abuse and for sexual immorality. Welcome to the world of carnal male privilege – the same kind of world Jesus was born into two thousand years ago..

      • “The church has seriously come off of its rocker. I know we’ve talked about this before, and the nature of Christian men “struggling” – but there is just no way we can sit here and accept that all men professing Christ also enjoy degrading women.
        In the same way, we don’t accept the Church forcing families to endure horrific abuse in God’s name. We don’t accept people in our churches (professing Jesus as their savior) sexually abusing children.
        This has got to stop.”

        Yup. The church needs a serious wake-up call.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Desley – You’ve probably heard me say this before, but I keep saying it primarily to remind myself! We speak of the church as that visible local church or association/denomination of churches. Or of the evangelical church which means churches who embrace a certain doctrinal stance. But I have to keep telling myself that Jesus has His remnant, His true church and Bride, and THAT church, for all its present spots and wrinkles loves Christ, loves His Word, and loves others. She hungers and thirst for righteousness and she eagerly comforts the oppressed. Every real Christian is a member of that church. So the local, visible churches we see on street corners are mixtures of truth and error to some degree, more or less. Some are so compromised with the world that they are no longer churches, but what the Apostle John calls synagogues of Satan. The scary thing today is that we find ourselves wondering, “Will the Son of Man find faith on the earth when He comes?”

      • MeganC

        I just heaved a sigh of relief. It is so good to not be alone in my thinking and convictions. Well said, ladies.

      • Yes, thank you for clarifying that, Jeff. Do you suppose that even the remnant that loves Christ, the Word, and others can be entangled in these abuse cover-ups? The people at my church also tried to smooth over allegations of child abuse (although not sexual) perpetrated against my son by questioning my capacity to discern reality, directly deflecting the attention off of my husband when I tried to bring it up and asking me instead “but what are YOU working on?”, one elder told me he oouldn’t believe my husband would do that (which I interpreted as him saying I was a liar), and they also failed to report the allegations to the authoritites even though they are under a legal obligation (Ontario’s Duty to Report, double obligation for clergy). Yet for the life of me, I can’t imagine that these people who are so beautiful in so many other ways are not one of Christ’s own. I think they are genuinely trying to help but are misguided and ignorant. But then again – and the thought of it pains me to no end – they broke the law by not reporting, point blank. I thought for awhile that it was possible they were not aware of this law but then I remembered that when I first started going to that church 7 or 8 years ago there was a notice on the nursery wall outlining this duty. How does breaking the law sit on a righteous man’s conscience? Hmmmm…

      • Jeff Crippen

        I think the New Testament has many examples of genuine Christians acting pretty foolishly and sinfully. We can be ignorant. We can get careless and not immerse ourselves in Scripture, listening to the traditions of men, and so on. BUT, the fact is that when corrected with God’s Word, a genuine Christian is going to come to repentance and do right. The longer professing Christians reject God’s Word, the more we have to wonder about their claim to be Christ’s sheep. All of Christ’s sheep hear His voice.

  10. Great to see you spreading the word about Freud’s betrayal of abused women and girls, Jeff C. I have known about that for years. I think I may have read about it first in Judith Lewis Hermann’s book that you quoted from above, but I’ve also read about it elsewhere. Just one of the many things I have not had time to spread the word about more.

    As I grew up I picked up a smattering of Freud from general knowledge. What I learned was that Freud said that girls have sexual desires for their fathers which they bury in their subconscious and which can then give rise to neurosis and hysteria, and boys have sexual desires for their mothers that they likewise suppress. But that was Freud’s revised theory, his backtracking, his fabricated explanation that enabled him to escape from the morass of criminal facts he was uncovering about how men (fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and others) were sexually exploiting girls and young women against their will, and engaging in a giant cover-up about these crimes. (don’t know if they were all defined as crimes in those days, but they are now!) And it enabled Freud to maintain credibility and respect among his fellow male physicians. If he had not backtracked from his original conclusions in The Aetiology of Hysteria, he would have been an outcast in Viennese society, not to mention the entire medical and scientific fraternity across Europe.

    And I agree with Anon, above, that the vast majority of mental health professionals no longer believe in Freud’s theory about the suppressed sexual desires of girls and boys as being the root of all neurosis.

    I was told by a psychiatrist who I greatly respect that at the modern psychiatric conferences, if somebody starts spouting Freud’s theories about children’s sexual desires for their parents, they get laughed at.

    But so many Christians are oblivious to all this, and some Christians who are vehemently anti-psychology like to ridicule all psychology by citing Freud’s theory of childhood sexuality to show how stupid all psychology is. It’s a typical straw man argument.

  11. I am stunned at this analysis of Freuds history and the founding of his psychoanalysis. Oh my word. He basically affirmed and institutionalized the position of blaming the victim!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes Lydia, and this is not the first time I have read this very same history. George Simon, Jr. says the same thing in one of his books, I can’t remember which. Either In Sheep’s Clothing or in Character Disturbance. No one ever told me about this before either.

  12. Diane

    Desley wrote~

    But the thing is, these people – Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Carl Trueman – publically defended Mahaney without even checking their facts first. And now there’s absolutely no denying much of the allegations and not one of them has apologized for their presumptuous attacks on the victims. And then Mahaney gets invited to speak at seminaries and conferences? “Any time you’re going to take on the role of leadership, you’re going to have critics,” Al Mohler said of the sexual abuse allegations. And Ligon Duncan takes the cake with his statement regarding the allegations:

    “I would then encourage you to ignore the assaults of wounded people on attack websites and blogs, and that you discount the opinings of those who have no real knowledge of these matters or relation to SGM or authority to comment upon them, and that you refrain from assuming that you (or they) are in a position to render judgment on these things.”

    And not so much as an apology to the victims.

    That is what disturbs me so much. I can see them wanting to defend their friend C.J. Mahaney. It’s human to want to defend your friends. But the rough way they went about saying what they did is an amazing sight to see. Mohler with his- people just don’t like strong leadership, and Duncan with his- ignore the wounded people on attack websites, well, anyone else feeling the utter disdain these kinds of statements reveal for people from these so called leaders? 1John 4:20 comes to mind and the Geneva bible says the following about it-

    “(15) As he showed that the love of our neighbour cannot be separate from the love with which God loves us because this last gives rise to the other: so he denies that the other kind of love with which we love God, can be separate from the love of our neighbour: of which it follows, that they who say they worship God, and yet do not regard their neighbours lie shamelessly.” http://bible.cc/1_john/4-20.htm

    And~

    And Wilson – oh Doug Wilson – what can I say? I don’t even now where to begin. Slaves in the south had it good? Southern slavery wasn’t an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity? Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based on mutual affection and confidence? There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world? The life of the southern slave was one of “simple pleasures”? Seriously??? And then he gets invited not once, but several times to speak at the Desiring God conferences? And he is all buddy buddy with Chuck Colson?

    Now when you couple in the treatment of abuse victims, some of the degrading and harmful things they say about women, the way so many of them bash the poor, etc., I am at a loss.

    I used to be at a loss also when I first started reading about these men which was a year and a half ago. My answer to the same question going over and over in my mind…how can this be?…was that Christianity is big business. It is almost as if their promoting of each other and chumming up with anyone that may happen to say Jesus, atonement and Spurgeon, is evidently more important than anything else because they are God’s chosen ones to bring us the gospel again. Like Pastor Jeff said…gotta save the movement at all costs –their ministry = the gospel. A tainted ministry is a tainted gospel. I do not agree with that, but that is the conclusion I am coming to. A recent tweet of TGC darling and Mahaney/Ortlund/Doug Wilson promoter Jared C Wilson seems to agree:

    jaredcwilson‏@jaredcwilson
    RT @rayortlund: If you will not defend the minister of the gospel, you risk losing the ministry of the gospel. #manup

    Really? Seems a rather high and lofty position these men place themselves in. I see that kind of thinking everywhere from TGC types. And, lest we forget Mohler’s infamous statement that preachers are God’s gift to people to save them from their ignorance.

    And~

    Am I the only one who sees something gravely wrong with all of this? I really struggle to love these guys as brothers – the whole lot of them. I don’t think I have ever been so disillusioned with institutionalized Christianity. And I don’t think it’s fair or good to dismiss it all as gossip, as our “leaders” are telling us to do. I want transparency in the churches. Honesty. Integrity. Humility. Goodness.

    No- you are not the only one. As far as struggling to love these guys as brothers…well, I do not know if they are brothers. They certainly are professing Christians. Jesus said we know them by their fruit, not just what they teach. Thinking about 2Tim 3:5 here…”having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have NOTHING to do with them.” That verse sounds like it includes professing Christians not just unbelievers. The verses before and after describe the kinds of behaviors we may see and says that those are perilous times.

    We are admonished to not regard them and are to turn away and not consider what they say. Do not even give them the time of day. Clarke’s commentary about this verse says “they have religion in their creed but none in their hearts.” And what is in your heart will come out in your words.

    • Sorry, I just seen this now.

      “And, lest we forget Mohler’s infamous statement that preachers are God’s gift to people to save them from their ignorance.”

      Classy. Excuse me while I go and choke…

  13. Finding Answers

    Barb wrote I hardly need to make the analogy, right? Just as Freud could not deal with the implications of what his findings meant (that a large number of leading folk in Vienna were child-molesting perverts), so today pastors, church leaders, and church members cannot accept the consequences they sense would result if we started believing the abuse victims in our churches. The elephant in the room would become visible for all to see. If we admit that saintly Mr. Smith is, in fact, a fake saint who has been abusing his wife and children for years, then just how many other Mr. Smiths might be hiding in our pews in disguise? How many other victims whose stories we have disbelieved were, in fact, telling the truth?

    Many people are reluctant to let go of a chosen position, to challenge it’s credibility. They are afraid to say, “Y’mean I was WRONG???”, afraid of losing the foundation upon which they built their house, afraid of “losing face”.

    It’s important to remember, the original position taken was based – consciously or unconsciously – on certain premises. When presented with new / different information, information questioning a stance, it’s important to verify it’s soundness. Then the choice is made whether or not to change positions.

    This process of evaluation / re-evaluation is constant. The tendency is to condemn, rather than convict.

    An individual, for example, may be unaware a certain action is unhealthy. Condemnation says, “This unhealthy action has been wrong all along. Your credibility has been lost.” Conviction says, “This action is unhealthy. Given this new information, you can now make a healthier choice.”

    The process is analogous to repentance, to the Biblical differentiation between conviction and condemnation, to seeing ever deepening truth in God’s word. We choose how we respond. Do we hold a previously held position at all costs? Or do we say, “Wow! I never knew that…what might I need to change?”

    How we choose to respond reflects our character, the fruit (or not) of the Spirit.

    • Finding Answers

      Adding on to my own comment….

      ^That.

      Though the process remains the same, different areas in my life are being addressed.

      There is so much to learn.

      • It strikes me that in some ways you are like a person who has had a stroke and has to learn to walk and talk again.

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