Child Abuse And Matthew 18: The Dangers of Distorting Scripture
The scourge of child sexual abuse is not just a sin violating the 7th Commandment in Exodus 20:14 and Matthew 5:27-30, but it is also a criminal offense in all 50 States. It is not a matter which can be handled quietly between two persons or between two families, as was misguidedly done in Genesis 34 and in many churches today. It is a matter of public alarm, because of its pervasive, extensive, and expansive nature, causing a cascade of misery in countless lives. Additionally, the God-ordained civil authorities in virtually every jurisdiction mandate in some fashion that suspected child abuse be immediately reported to law enforcement.(Bold emphasis added by me to draw attention to how Mahaney and other pastors like him are criminally guilty.)
Thus, any claim that we must follow the Matthew 18 progressive confrontation process before reporting disclosures of child sexual abuse to the civil authorities is simply wrongheaded: God’s minister’s—the civil authorities—must be informed first!
In this, child sexual abuse is like murder or any other crime. Anyone who would demand that the family of a murder victim must first follow the Matthew 18 process before calling the police could be criminally charged themselves for being an accessory after the fact. John Schuetze, professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, puts it this way, “Let’s assume you are driving by the local convenience store and notice a fellow member of the congregation holding up the attendant. In that scenario it would be ludicrous to have a conversation with the parishioner. Your obligation instead is to call the police. To say otherwise is to conclude Christ was devoid of common sense.” What kind of twisted mind would reason that kidnapping or rape ought to be concealed from the civil authorities while a process of church discipline is pursued first?