Our publishing policy

Our mission is awakening the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst. We are calling for Christians to show justice in how they respond to domestic abuse.

This entails a number of things:

  • Caring for victims by telling their stories that need to be publicly heard.
  • Caring for victims and the church by applying Biblical truths to aspects of abuse that have been neglected.
  • Engaging with the wisdom that secular professionals are bringing to the issue of domestic abuse. (We recognize that God’s common grace brings wisdom from the sciences and human experience as well as from the Scriptures. Scripture must always remain our final authority.)
  • Encouraging churches to appropriately discipline abusers and thus protect victims.
  • Identifying ministries and particular teachers who promote teachings that we view as both unbiblical and harmful to victims.

While any of these actions may provoke people to take issue with our blog, the last may be the most uncomfortable for some. We believe that by critiquing erroneous teaching, we are expressing care for everyone: for the misguided folk who are promoting error, and those who have been injured by the bad teaching.

We cannot avoid the fact that when Christians have been wounded by friendly fire, justice-making entails being critical of “Christian” teachings and practices that have enabled domestic abuse to thrive.

We recognize that many of our readers need to express how they feel — their anger and pain — from having suffered under wrong teaching and unbiblical practices within the church. Identifying emotions and memories, venting and sharing, and receiving validation and vindication from others is very important for survivors of abuse: it is part of the justice and healing process.

So if we name Christian leaders by name for what we consider to be their bad teaching, we do not apologise for the fact that negative emotions may be expressed in the comments thread about the named leader. We see such emotions as healthy responses to having suffered injustice due to these poor teachings. At the same time, if a comment seems to be vengeful or vindictive we may not to publish it, or we may publish it but remind readers that —

it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  (Romans 12:19)

We prioritize the voices of victims and we insist that this blog must be a safe place for victims and survivors.

We do not allow comments defending anyone who by their teaching or practice is enabling abuse, whether that enabler is doing so wittingly or unwittingly.

We understand the hesitancy that some people feel about individual leaders being named, especially in a setting like a public blog where the person being criticized is not necessarily a witness or a participant. We believe, however, that the more well-known and widely influential a teacher is, the more important it is to call them out if their teaching is enabling domestic abuse. Their teaching is done in public, and it is legitimate to criticize their teaching in public. The Apostle Paul did not hesitate to warn Timothy about Alexander the coppersmith, even when Alexander was not present. Alexander was not going to listen to anyone; but Timothy needed to be warned. Paul confronted Peter to his face in Antioch before the assembled believers, but he didn’t stop there, he also told the Galatians about that confrontation: he thought it important for all believers (not just the ones at Antioch) to know how he had corrected Peter. The Lord Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, and not always to their faces. He warned His disciples and others against their errors. That is the kind of thing we sometimes do here. And the more damage teachers are causing to victims of abuse, the more imperative it is that their damaging teaching be exposed, and they be called to repent of it and ask forgiveness from the survivors they have wounded.

To those who feel sorry for teachers who might be rebuked on this blog, we ask you to refrain from expressing your sympathies here and to consider how much pain these wrong teachings have caused to victims. Whatever pain a teacher may feel from having his or her teachings criticized, it cannot match the pain that victims and survivors of domestic abuse have suffered because of that wrong teaching. We repeat: we prioritize the voices and needs of victims and survivors.

We moderate all comments before publishing them. Any comment that does not conform to these principles is likely not to be published. If we do publish a comment that does not conform to these principles, we do so at our own discretion and we may nevertheless remove it later, and any comments that relate to it.

There will be no discussion on the blog regarding the reason for any comment deletion. Any follow-up comments mentioning the comment deletion will not be published.

Commenters who have been affected may communicate with us via email, and we will consider their objections. The final decision lies with us. We permanently block commenters who we believe to be perpetrators of abuse.

A final caveat: The posts we write and post on A Cry for Justice are representative of our doctrinal understanding of the Scriptures, and of our application of those truths. Sometimes, for purposes of discussion and learning, we may invite a guest to post an article or post that presents some points we do not entirely agree with. Comments on the posts and articles will also sometimes present positions we do not necessarily endorse.

May I republish something from your blog?

Apart from a few cases where a copyright notice is explicitly stated in a post, we are happy for you to re-post material from this blog. Please show common courtesy by not distorting the meaning of the material if you are only quoting parts from it.

We can’t stop perpetrators of abuse from re-posting our stuff, but we don’t give them any oxygen for doing so, so we trash the automatic notification that says “Re-posted on blah-de-blah-wordpress.com.”

May I republish a comment from your blog?

Since the blog is public, it is fine to republish a comment from ACFJ on your own website. We moderate comments tightly and we maintain a high sense of duty of care for our commentaries regarding safety, etc..  If it passes our high bar, we are confident that it would pass yours too. People in this internet age know that what they write on public internet sites is fair game to be quoted by others. The only thing about quoting and republishing comments is to do it ethically and in good faith, not in a way that distorts the original meaning or tone of the comment.

At this time we don’t have the blog set up so that you can cite a comment’s exact URL However, you can cite the URL of the post, and then give the screen name of the commenter and date of the comment. Tip: When providing dates use the international date format (for example: 1 January 2013) as we have readers from all around the world.

May I include links or book titles or other resources in a comment?

If you have a resource to recommend (e.g. a book, link, or video) we ask you submit the recommendation to Barbara Roberts <barara@notunderbondage.com>

If you submit a comment recommending a resource, your comment is likely to be held in moderation for some time. Due to time constraints, the ACFJ team may not be able to check out the resource you have recommended. We are hesitant to recommend any resource that we have not checked out. We may publish such a comment after editing out the suggested resource, or we may not publish it at all. Here is a post that explains why we don’t always publish links or resources our readers suggest.

We also suggest you check out our extensive Resources section on the blog.

2 thoughts on “Our publishing policy”

  1. For those who are unsure about whether it’s right to publicly critique Christian leaders, you might like to consider these words from John MacArthur which were published at Tim Challies’ website. 5 More Questions with John MacArthur [Internet Archive link]
    In answer to the question How can we best critique people who are “in our camp” and yet believe things different from us? Or behave in ways we do not appreciate? How can we know where to draw those lines? MacArthur replied:

    I believe that it is appropriate to respond publicly to that which has been taught publicly. If someone has published something in a book or on a blog or preached it in a sermon (which has then been made available online), it is now subject to public critique. I certainly believe this is true with regard to my own teachings. Anything I have preached or published (and therefore made public) is consequently subject to public criticism. And I don’t consider my critics to necessarily be unloving just because they disagree with me. In fact, I welcome their feedback, because it is part of the sharpening process.

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