Abuse Still Running Rampant in the IFB Church
Documented Cases of IFB abuse in 2022
One of the most recent documented cases of abuse within the IFB Cult Community is the case against Bill Johnson and Bethel Church for their cover-up of abuse. Johnson and his church have been accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by former pastor Steve Carter. The allegations against them are similar to those faced by Sovereign Grace Churches, Hillsong Church, and many other IFB churches and leaders. According to the California Department of Justice, the statute of limitations for the abuse committed against a minor by a pastor or clergy member is until the victim’s 28th birthday.
One of the ways Bill Johnson and his church covered up sexual abuse was to avoid mandatory reporting laws. The California Department of Justice defines mandatory reporting laws as “requirements that certain professionals (such as physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, social workers, or other types of therapists) must report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities.” The IFB Cult Community, including many of the pastors and leaders of these churches, permits covering up sexual abuse, including covering up abuse against minors. Covering up sexual abuse is wrong. Furthermore, covering up sexual abuse is illegal because mandatory reporting laws exist to protect children from sexual predators, including clergy members.
How covering abuse hurts the cause of Christ.
Sexual abuse is not only a pandemic; it’s a sin. However, when pastors, churches, and the IFB Cult Community allow abuse to occur, they also allow the spreading of another pandemic — the sin virus. This virus attacks the church and destroys people’s faith in Christ. The sin virus attacks the church when pastors are covering up abuse or not reporting abuse to the police. The sin virus spreads when pastors do not stand up to sexual abuse or sexual predators within their congregations. The sin virus attacks the church when pastors are not following mandatory reporting laws and are therefore enabling sexual predators to continue to abuse their victims.
Dr. Michael J. Schultes, Ph.D., is a professor of theology at the Evangelical Theological Society in Atlanta, GA and the author of “Against Sexual Abuse: A Biblical Response to Sexual Abuse” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997). He is also a co-founder of the Faith Movement Project (FMP), an organization that trains pastors to combat sexual abuse and other forms of sexual misconduct in churches across the country.
In his book, "Against Sexual Abuse: A Biblical Response to Sexual Abuse", Dr. Schultes notes that the sin virus is cancer that has infected the church and is spreading through the world because of people who do not believe in Christ and are not willing to fight back against sexual predators. Dr. Schultes states that sexual abuse is a sin and was never meant to be punished by God. He also states that if we truly believe in Christ and are willing to stand up for what he has ordained, we can have peace with God.
Dr. Schultes also states that sexual abuse is a problem and that it is time to take action against it. He states that we need to fight back against the epidemic and use our resources to find those guilty of sexual abuse. He also states that sex offenders should not be given a pass on their crimes or forgiveness. Dr. Schultes believes the Bible does not allow for the forgiveness of sexual predators, but he does believe that if we are going to deal with this problem, we can do so in a biblical way by speaking out against sin.
Dr. Schultes points out that there are many people who have been sexually abused and many who continue to be sexually abused as well, but most of them do not know how to forgive themselves because they believe they have already been forgiven, but they still harbor resentment towards everyone who has ever hurt them or anyone they could possibly hurt again. Dr. Schultes explains this scenario in his book by saying:
“[I]f we do not forgive, our inner self will be devoted to the antagonistic pursuit of revenge. We must therefore seek forgiveness in the way that is most appropriate to our situation and the circumstances of life.”
How can we create a safe environment for our children in church?
Again, we must go back to the basics — the fundamentals of our faith. We as the church must be willing to stand up for the vulnerable, and we must not only be willing to help those in need, but we must also be willing to stand up for ourselves.
The church should be the place where children come for refuge; it should be the place where children are nurtured. When children are raised in a safe environment, they will have a healthy understanding of human sexuality and respect for others. However, many children in the IFB come into contact with sexual predators who then use their trust in the church to abuse them sexually. We must therefore work hard at creating a safe environment within our church where our youth can grow up into responsible adults who love their neighbors as themselves.
Gravely consider what you do when you cover up sexual abuse of your congregation’s children: Do you deny your children’s sexual abuse? Do you allow people like them to continue to abuse your child? Do you allow people like this predator to continue sexually abusing a child? If so, says Pastor Taggart “they will be walking dungeons and hellfire forever!”
If you are a church that does not follow the Word of God and does not know what to do about sexual abuse in your congregation, Pastor Taggart says this is the time to find a new congregation.
I ask that you keep this important message in mind: Covering up sexual abuse hurts Christ; exposing abuse follows the fundamentals of our faith. If we are to ever create a safe environment for our children in church, we must follow the fundamentals of our faith. We must hold our church leaders to a higher standard. We must hold them accountable for their actions. We must hold them accountable for covering up abuse.