Christian Denominations in our Hall of Blind Guides
We are not making any personal aspersions or accusations against the character of any person or organization listed here. We are simply announcing that this list represents well known organisations, theologians, pastors, counselors and others who are in our opinion, not safe resources for abuse victims.
Abuse occurs in every Christian denomination. Baptists, Presbyterian, Independent, Lutheran, Reformed….all of them. Churches in some denominations, such as Baptist, are self-governing. Others, such as Presbyterian or Lutheran or Methodist (as just a few examples) have accountability of varying degrees to some governing body such as a Presbytery or Synod. We receive reports of abuse victims receiving injustice at the hands of their local church in all sorts of denominations. Therefore, we cannot wholly endorse a particular denomination as a whole as being a safe place for abuse victims.
The Lutheran Hour Ministries has produced a booklet that accurately reflects the position of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: Has God Abandoned Me? For Women Facing Domestic Violence. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has published a position paper which states that physical abuse is grounds for divorce, but we also receive numerous reports of PCA churches dealing out injustice to victims and not following that position paper. The Christian Reformed Church (CRC), similarly, cannot be endorsed as “safe” for victims as a denomination, as we have received reports of grave injustices up to the synod level; but it is devoting some resources to educating its members about abuse.
The key then is to find a local church where the pastor and leaders understand abuse and are resolved to protect victims and expose abusers. We cannot label any denomination as guaranteed “safe.” There is often a big gap between rhetoric and reality.
Any denominations that we expressly name here in our Hall of Blind guides (such as some of the “micro” Presbyterian denominations), are so infected with radical patriarchy (patriocentrism) that we would deem any of their churches to be unsafe.
Association of Reformed Baptists of America (ARBCA)
According to their website “ARBCA is an association of Reformed Baptist churches working together to faithfully hold to biblical truth and vigorously proclaim the gospel to a needy world.” However it has become public knowledge that pastor Tom Chantry, a “notable and respected” Reformed Baptists leader has been charged in the state of Arizona with multiple counts of molestation of a child and aggravated assault on a minor. As investigation continues it is becoming more apparent that there is a Code of Silence taught and enforced throughout this denomination. For more on ARBCA and the charges against Tom Chantry see this ACFJ post.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC)
This is another micro-Presbyterian denomination consisting of less than 20 churches. Extreme patriarchy is characteristic. R.C. Sproul Jr. is affiliated with one of these churches.
Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB)
While the IFB denomination does not have a governing board or one leading/famous personality, it has a well-documented legacy of fostering abuse and narcissism. Also, many of its “core doctrines” are no different than those of Bill Gothard’s ATI / IBLP.
Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)
We have a post regarding the OPC. In addition to the article that the post refers to, one of our readers brought an addition article on domestic violence from the OPC website to our attention. Here is a link to the reader’s comment and Barbara’s reply.
This fellowship of churches is marked by heavy legalism and the exercise of great injustice to abuse victims. Primitive Baptists believe they are the true church, preserved over the centuries. Most are located in the SE part of the United States. We can document a case of a victim and her family being ex-communicated by the PB church they were part of for many years.
Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS)
The flagship church in this small denomination is the Chalcedon Presbyterian Church, Joe Morecraft, Pastor.