Christian students have admitted that sexual assault stories concerning megachurch leaders are making God’s call for forgiveness challenging.
A small survey from the Christian Pepperdine University in California published on Wednesday found that as many as 71 percent of the 50 respondents said that there are exceptions to God’s call “to forgive those who trespass against us.”
Less than a quarter, or 22 percent, argued that there are no exceptions to the calling in the Lord’s prayer.
The Pepperdine University Graphic said that part of that narrative concerns the #MeToo movement, including the numerous stories of sexual assault allegations concerning megachurch pastors.
One prominent case identified was Highpoint Church Teaching Pastor Andy Savage, who resigned from his position earlier this year following decades-old allegations that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl, though he claimed the incident was consensual.
The other high-profile case revolved around Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, who also resigned earlier this year following allegations that he engaged in various types of sexually inappropriate behavior toward women for years.
Hybels, who has denied all allegations, resigned prematurely in April, and after months of controversy over the handling of the case, the entire elder board of Willow Creek also decided to step down in August.
Tanya Hart, history professor and director of the Women’s Studies Program at Pepperdine, insisted that the Bible does not condone any form of sexual abuse, and is not misogynistic in any way.
“The problem isn’t with God,” Hart said. “The problem isn’t with Jesus. The problem is with human beings. We need to look at ourselves.”
Speaking of the Savage case, she added that repentance is important.
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Source: Christian Post