STATEMENT ON ABUSE
We believe abuse can be defined as any act or failure to act resulting in imminent risk, serious injury, death, physical or emotional or sexual harm, or exploitation of another person.
We condemn all forms of physical, sexual and/or verbal abuse.
We believe that the biblical teaching on relationships between men and women does not support, but condemns abuse (Prov. 12:18; Eph. 5:25-29; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7-8; 1 Pet. 3:7; 5:3).
We believe that abuse is not only a sin but is also a crime. It is destructive and evil. Abuse is a hallmark of the devil and is in direct opposition to the purposes of God. Abuse must not to be tolerated in the Christian community.
We believe that the local church and Christian ministries have a responsibility to establish safe environments; to execute policies and practices that protect against any form of abuse; to confront abusers and to protect the abused, which may also include the responsibility to report abuse to civil authorities.
We believe that church and ministry leaders have a special obligation to report serious abuse to civil authorities. Moreover, these leaders are responsible for knowing the laws of their state about reporting the suspicion or accusation of child and spousal abuse, and for following those laws in good faith.
We believe that the church must offer tender concern and care for the abused and must help the abused to find hope and healing through the gospel. The church should do all it can to provide ongoing counseling and support for the abused. The wounds of abuse run deep and so patience and mercy are needed over the long-haul as the church cares for the abused.
We believe abusers need to confess their crimes both to civil (if applicable) and church authorities, to repent of their sin, and to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and forgiveness from their sin.
We believe that by the power of God’s Spirit, the Christian church can be an instrument of God’s love and healing for those involved in abusive relationships and an example of wholeness in a fractured, broken world.