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Sex Offenders in Church

1. Introduction

Church leaders are increasingly confronted with a challenging and novel question: How do we respond to the presence of registered sex offenders at church? It is a difficult question because it pits two competing biblical principles against each other—showing mercy to the offender, and protecting children from harm.

This issue has taken on greater significance, if not urgency, in recent years due to two developments: First, media focus on cases of child abuse in churches has increased awareness on the part of both clergy and lay members of the risk of child molestation and the need to take affirmative steps to protect children; and second, the number of registered sex offenders in America is a staggering 550,000 and rising. There are millions more offenders who are not on an official registry for several reasons, including the following:

  • Many sex offenders are never reported or apprehended, and as a result have no criminal record and are not on any registry.

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Posted:
  • September 1, 2010

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