Earlier this year, Bob Jones University, a very conservative Christian school, realized it had a reputation for being home to a lot of unchecked sexual abuse. They vowed to seriously get to the bottom of this and hired a ministry group called Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) to investigate.
The final report still hasn’t been issued.
Kathryn Joyce, who had written a couple of jaw-dropping books about aspects of Christian culture, has now written a #longform profile of Boz Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham and GRACE’s Director. Through his eyes, Joyce looks at the future of Protestant institutions:
Over the next few years and decades, Protestant institutions of every kind — fundamentalist, evangelical, and mainline — will be increasingly faced with a stark choice. One option is to follow the example set by the Catholic Church more than a decade ago: Fight back fiercely, not giving an inch when it comes to admitting you may have been wrong. Everyone knows how well that has worked. The other option is represented, thus far, by GRACE alone: Churches, schools, and groups can heed Tchividjian’s call to make themselves vulnerable, to admit what they’ve done wrong, and — hardest of all — to allow that truth to come to light.
For all the damage they’ve done, these religious schools still have an opportunity to make things a little better. It would be a travesty if they continued to cover it up just to protect their image.