Tchividjian had become convinced that the Protestant world is teetering on the edge of a sex abuse scandal similar to the one that had rocked the Catholic Church. He is careful to say that there’s not enough data to compare the prevalence of child sex abuse in Protestant and Catholic institutions, but he’s convinced the problem has reached a crisis point.
He’s not alone in that belief. In 2012, Christian radio host Janet Mefferd declared, “This is an epidemic going on in churches. … When are evangelicals going to wake up and say we have a massive problem in our own churches?” For years, Protestants have assumed they were immune to the abuses perpetrated by celibate Catholic priests. But Tchividjian believes that Protestant churches, groups, and schools have been worse than Catholics in their response. Mission fields, he says, are “magnets” for would-be molesters; ministries and schools do not understand the dynamics of abuse; and “good ol’ boy” networks routinely cover up victims’ stories to protect their reputations. He fears it is only a matter of time before it all blows up in their faces and threatens the survival of powerful Protestant institutions.