Statement from the Fletcher Independent Advisory Group upon the release of their report

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For over a year, the four external members of the Independent Advisory Group, have worked alongside the Thirtyone:eight staff in the production of the Lessons Learned Review.  They were chosen to bring independent knowledge of the conservative evangelical (CE) world and a survivor voice.  

They have, today, published their own statement outlining what they hope will come of their efforts, from which the following excerpts are taken:

A prayer for the victims of Jonathan Fletcher

“Our prayer is that through the publication of the Review, and the ensuing public discussion, to which this is our contribution, those who were Fletcher’s victims may begin to find an increasing measure of justice and consolation as they see the compassion, love and truth of Jesus embodied in the response of CE churches who name Him as their Saviour.”

A culture of fear

“The fear that the Review describes is expressed as current – participants were still afraid. They feared, ‘…others still in positions of authority in the wider CE community.’ (p.38)  That is, people who still lead churches, still preach and still train leaders. This is a profoundly troubling matter and calls for urgent reflection and action.  It is not acceptable that a movement which claims to represent the gospel possesses within it such an atmosphere of fear.  Equally, what it says about those who wield power, both formally and informally, in our constituency must be carefully examined.’

A step towards hope

“‘It is time for judgment to begin with God’s household’ the Scriptures say and no doubt this will involve pain and loss for some, alongside soul-searching and repentance for all.  And, as we say, genuine repentance for some may involve them stepping down from positions of leadership. Yet, we believe that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ holds out the pattern, power and promise of a Christian community in which Christian leaders serve their people, not in order to devour them, but that together they may ‘grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.’ Our prayer is that this statement, and the report that it accompanies, may be a step towards that hope.”

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