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Questions Pastors Ask (about Abuse)

Leadership asked three respected leaders how pastors can navigate the choppy waters of recovered memories: Dan Allender is a psychologist and professor of biblical counseling in the graduate school of Colorado Christian University in Denver. Gary Gulbranson, an experienced pastoral counselor, is pastor of Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington. Louis McBurney is a psychiatrist who founded Marble Retreat in Marble, Colorado, which specializes in work with ministers. Upon hearing about the allegations, what should a pastor do? A pastor's immediate response should be to offer care and comfort. That's the role of a paraclete, someone who comes alongside another who is hurting. The woman making the accusations is obviously in pain. She needs her pastor to believe something happened, even though knowing exactly what happened is impossible. Pastors should say, "I believe that something very significant happened to you, and I want to help you get to the heart of it."

But pastors need to be ...

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