Power corrupts. Including religious power.

Former Christianity Today editor Katelyn Beaty has a great op-ed over on RNS making the case that the #ChurchToo scandal isn’t as much a case of sex abuse as it is a case of power abuse. And while the church has spent a lot of time talking about the proper boundaries and exercise of sex, it has spent almost no time talking about the proper boundaries and exercise of power.

If money, sex and power are the unholy trinity of spiritual temptation, arguably most Christians have a relatively paltry understanding of the third. Churches teach regular tithing and Dave Ramsey-style financial management. Scads of books and articles are written every year helping Christians practice sexual purity before marriage and sexual fulfillment within it. By contrast, little is taught and written about power and its corrosive effects.

Beaty goes on to suggest three actions for the church if we want to avoid continued scandals like the one with Bill Hybels at Willow Creek. She hits the nail right on the head with the first one:

Churches must seek leaders who are accountable and vulnerable, not just charismatic and driven.

Hybels and Willow Creek have taught the evangelical church culture a lot of lessons over the past two decades about church growth and the megachurch model. Now maybe it’s time to start un-learning those lessons. Beaty has some good ideas on where to start.


As Willow Creek reels, churches must reckon with how power corrupts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.