Ashley Easter’s article, along with our previous article by Jimmy Hinton, highlights the ongoing problem in the church today, where there seems to be no real biblical accountability by those who claim to be godly men and women – as they continue to demonstrate no love and concern for those abused.
“Nobody in their right mind would allow someone convicted of 5 D.U.I.s and vehicular homicide to volunteer to drive a van full of kids, no matter how long ago the crimes happened. Yet, surprisingly, with child rapists they consistently and intentionally hide their charges from the congregation. Why?” (Link)
Ashley Easter is, in her words – “a Christian feminist, writer, speaker, TV producer, news pundit, ordained reverend, and abuse-victim advocate who educates churches and secular communities on abuse”. Ashley is the founder of The Courage Conference, for survivors of abuse – and those who love them. In the following article Ashley addresses her deep concerns about Christine Caine’s silence on the sexual abuse scandal at Hillsong:
“Please, for the sake of survivors, for the sake of your integrity and your ministry, release a statement acknowledging your concern over the evidence of Pastor Brian Houston’s failure to respond to abuse properly. Share how pastors should respond to abuse, even when the perpetrators are their own family members. Explain how the Church should handle these situations. Don’t be silent anymore – the very thing churches and faith-based organizations too often decide to be when faced with a truth they dislike.”
Disclaimer: Although we appreciate the concerns addressed in Ashley’s article, we here at CWC do not subscribe to her views on the role of women being pastors. 1 Timothy 2:12-14
Ashley Easter writes:
When I first heard Christine Caine—abuse survivor, pastor, and founder of the anti-human trafficking organization A21—it was during the launch of her new organization Propel Women at Liberty University in 2015. I was beginning my journey toward Egalitarianism, embracing a theology of equality for both men and women, and her Wednesday night sermon was the tipping point for finally accepting women as pastors.
In an open letter to Christine after hearing her preach I wrote:
“Dear Christine Caine,
We have never met but I wanted to tell you: you changed my life… This was the very first time I had ever heard a woman preach and you did so with a passion, fervor, and humility that was truly stunning… All of the doubts in my mind that God could use a woman to lead and preach were laid to rest as the Spirit moved through your bold, feminine voice. I felt like the Holy Spirit whispered to me that night, ‘this is for you.’”
Christine’s example of egalitarianism and unapologetic preaching—especially her preaching on her experiences of childhood abuse—was truly an undeniable factor in gaining the courage to follow God’s call on my life to become an ordained minister myself.
In those early years of recovering and developing my voice, I listened to her sermons many times over and shared her interview “It is Possible to have Ministry and Marriage” on Facebook over and over again, along with dozens of her empowering Facebook quotes.
Even as my theology evolved and I became more progressive than Ms. Caine in some areas, I could not help but name her has one of my heroes when asked during an interview earlier this year.
Even my book The Courage Coach was not complete without a page being dedicated to a Christine Caine quote:
“Courage, after all, is not the absence of fear. It’s the will to persevere even in the face of fear.” —Christine Caine
So it is with a broken and crushed heart that I feel obligated to write what I am writing today. Christine Caine was my hero, my inspiration, and a large contributor to my sense of calling as both an ordained minister and advocate for the abused.
On November 18th I read an article from 9News: “60 Minutes: Hillsong Church founder under police investigation over handling of father’s sex crimes” which stated,
“In 2014, [Hillsong senior pastor] Brian Houston gave evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which later found he had failed to take the matter to the police and had a conflict of interest in dealing with the complaints against his father.”
For those who are not familiar, Christine Caine is deeply connected to Hillsong Church and its founder, Brian Houston. It is my understanding that Hillsong was the church that ordained Ms. Caine and gave her the platform she holds today.
Christine Caine has used her platform as a survivor and advocate for years and is slated to speak as an expert on the subject at the GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Violence, an initiative of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in partnership with the Wheaton College School of Psychology, Counseling, & Family Therapy.
Initially, when I saw her name on the list for GC2 speakers I was happy to see a survivor, advocate, woman, person of color, and woman preacher be included. It was upon understanding the depth of the problem at Hillsong—and how Brian Houston and many around him covered up Frank Houston’s abuse by failing to report these crimes to the police—that I was deeply concerned by Caine’s ongoing silence. To my knowledge she has not released a statement condemning Brian Houston’s inaction and ongoing deflection.
It was with this concern that I made a polite request through a direct Tweet:
To read the rest of this very important article, click on this link.
Source: Ashley Easter, http://www.ashleyeaster.com, https://web.archive.org/web/20181225093018/http://www.ashleyeaster.com/blog/raising-cain-about-christine-caine, Published December 4, 2018. (Accessed April 27, 2019.)
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