Feb
11
2016

The Complex Case of Pastor Saeed

In this week’s Ministry Briefing, the difficult case of Saeed Abedini:

In a series of statements since the release of Saeed Abedini from prison in Iran, his wife Nagmeh Abedini has made it clear that his history of abuse will delay a reunion with his family until the Iranian born pastor attends counseling. Nagmeh posted that she had hoped Saeed’s imprisonment would help resolve their issues, but his abuse toward her only increased.

Source: Wartburg Watch

Why does this matter for church leaders?

Many churches have been actively praying for the release of Abedini, and while his release is a good thing, the revelations of his abuse leave us with significant questions. Abuse is a significant problem in the church, one that pastors rarely address more than once a year (according to a LifeWay study). A high profile situation such as the Abedini’s reminds us that abuse could be taking place where we suspect it the least. There are so many thoughts running through my mind in regards to this, here are three of them:

  • Our Integrity Is Essential: The world doesn’t need another discredited Christian. Seek the support and accountability you need today before your deeds catch up with you publicly.
  • Public Advocacy Brings Public Scrutiny: The more your church and leadership end up in the news, the more scrutiny you can expect. If you’re involved in advocacy work, have you effectively resolved any past conflicts? Does anyone at your church’s staff have skeletons in his or her closet? Also, see the bullet point above.
  • Does your church have connections to abuse advocacy networks? Counseling centers and support networks can provide the help that victims of abuse need. A very small percentage of women who report abuse are fabricating their account, and many choose to not report abuse because they fear people won’t believe them and will alienate them. Do you have a process in place to ensure those potentially in abusive situations can receive the help they need?

How is YOUR church working to end spousal abuse?

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About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.