Evangelical Leaders, Abuse and Women

My heart breaks at recent events with regard to major leaders within the evangelical movement and attitudes toward women.

One of the most respected evangelical leaders in the past few decades has been Bill Hybels. He seemed to have the ideal ministry. He planted and successfully led his church and was about to retire after forty years in ministry. Then just before finishing well, everything fell apart. Some serious allegations arose concerning his relationship with women. It is not clear if Hybels actually had affairs, but things are bad if Hybels only did what he admits to have done.

More recently, reports have come to light by Paige Patterson, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. I don’t think Patterson was promoting abuse, but his comments demonstrate how out of touch some leaders are. I’m thankful that many high ranking members of the SBC have spoken against Patterson’s comments and have spoken up for the protection of women.

These are only two examples but the prominence of these leaders has had an impact beyond their numbers. Many people see evangelicals as being anti-women and these events only strengthen these stereotypes.

Abuse of women, whether sexual, physical or emotional, is wrong. All the time. Evangelicals, and especially male evangelicals, need to take a strong stand against abuse of all kinds against women. The #metoo movement cannot be dismissed as part of the “liberal agenda.”

I fear that there are some evangelicals that are so committed to the culture wars that they will miss the opportunity to take a strong stand for women, a stand consistent with biblical values.

Evangelicals, now is the time to do the right thing.

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