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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:30 am 
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NTM has stated that while some individuals have abused children, “we as an organization . . . have sinned against these students.”

I agree that the organization is responsible. NTM was responsible when the abuse occurred, it was responsible when it was covered up and it was responsible when leaders continued to pressure missionaries around the world to put their children in the boarding schools, knowing full well that these were not the safe havens they pretended them to be. NTM was responsible to report criminal behavior to local authorities, something it has never done. There is certainly a lot of responsibility on NTM. However, NTM's statement goes both too far and not far enough...

I would question the competence of any Christian leader who would say that an organization has sinned. Organizations can do a lot: as "juristic entities," organizations can enter into contracts, own real estate, hire people and even commit crimes. But, they cannot sin. Sin, as salvation, is a personal issue. Organizations, by their very nature, cannot pray, cannot repent, cannot get saved, cannot walk with the Lord, cannot be filled with the Spirit and cannot sin. Jesus did not die for the sins of NTM, IBM, Piggly Wiggly.

Does the statement on their website really reflect the theology of NTM leadership? NTM missionaries? Do they honestly believe that organizations can sin? What are they teaching tribal people around the world?

I would also question the honesty of omitting to mention, specifically and clearly, that the sins and crimes were covered up. This is no time for euphemisms. Trying to hide a cover up under the general heading of "inadequate training" and "not addressing the abuse properly" is disingenuous, shameful and amounts to a cover up of the cover up. A moment's reflection would have told any unbiased human being that a dorm mother who forced children to eat their own vomit should have been fired, never mind a dorm father who molested young girls in his care or who broke a boy's arm. How much training would that take? Shaming victims into silence shouldn't really be filed under "not addressing the abuse properly."

Is this "we as an organization have sinned" stand an attempt to spread the blame, to dilute the guilt and to paint the entire organization with the same brush? Are missionaries in the villages equally guilty of this "organizational sin" as the leaders? Or is it just an impersonal way of admitting guilt - is it "code" for "we leaders"?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:43 am 
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As one person told me, ". . .the shifting of blame onto the 'organization' is putting the onus on no one."


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:08 am 
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There is certainly a security to be had by hiding behind a "corporation". Anyone seen the documentary "The Corporation"?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:37 am 
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On September 9, 2010 at 19:19 a poster signing her/ himself as Waukesha Grad, posted this, slightly edited here, on the Guestbook page of this site:
@Student

I agree with Older Sister that you need to go before the Lord and decide for yourself on this issue–

Consider this though–You state that you “are currently re-evaluating whether or not I want to learn about my God from an organization that is willing to act so corruptly.” Who acted corruptly? It wasn't the organization of “NTM” or “NTBI”–It was specific people in that organization. The current leadership has made it very clear that they will not stand for such corruption & negligence–indeed, the current president of Waukesha is an executive board member, and you heard from himself that he will not stand for it.

With that in mind, are you learning about your God from specific teachers that will not stand for what former NTM leadership did, or will you be learning about your God from people who are corrupt because some people in leadership before them were corrupt?

Does that make any kind of sense?


What Waukesha Grad says makes good sense to me. I do not believe that the organization "acted corruptly." I do believe that individuals in the organization sinned grievously, some by abusing children and others by covering it up. I also believe that there was no system in place in the organization that could honestly deal with the sinful actions of those individuals or the effects thereof. That is certainly a defect in the way NTM is organized, but it is not the same as saying "the organization sinned."

However, the present leadership of NTM takes a position on this issue that is diametrically opposed to the one Waukesha Grad expounds so well. The present leadership of NTM has publicly said that, while some individuals have abused children, the organization itself has sinned. Waukesha Grad points out that the current president of the Waukesha school is an Executive Board member, so we know what he thinks. I do not know whether or not all the leaders/ teachers at NTBI agree with the statement from the EB or not. However, being in an organization is, generally speaking, a tacit agreement with their positions on vital issues. This seems vital to me. . .


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:42 pm 
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As someone who was abused at Fanda, I would much rather hear from NTM "we sinned" than, "certain members in our organization have sinned." That to me would be blame shifting. NTM operates as a unit, and speaks as a unit, and their actions as a unit were sinful.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:28 pm 
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I have complete sympathy with kari; I do not mean to detract one iota from the unspeakably cruel way she, and other victims, have been treated by NTM. As a corporation, NTM is guilty. And legally liable.

One point I hoped to address in my first post in this thread was to question whether the current NTM leadership is trying to spread the blame, deflect the blame, while seeming to accept it. "We as an organization have sinned" is perilously close to saying "no one has sinned." At the very least, it blurs the issue.

I regret saying that "I do not believe the organization acted corruptly." I meant that not every single member of NTM was guilty of these crimes, which is the point I understood Waukesha Grad to be making. As an organization, of course, I totally agree that the actions of NTM were corrupt. Even if, and this has not been demonstrated, no other members of the Executive Committee knew about these things, the corporation is responsible for them. I am very sorry that I was not more specific in my post.

I would like to expand on my statement about whether or not an organization can sin: Organizations, as organizations, can lie. Lying is a sin. But, corporations, even when they lie, cannot sin, not in a biblical sense of the term; Jesus did not die for NTM any more than He died for IBM. In a biblical use of the term "Christian," there is no such thing as a "Christian organization." I know, I know. What we mean by that phrase is an organization formed to carry out particularly Christian endeavors. It is a useful shorthand, and I use it, too. But, if we aren't careful, it can lead us far astray: NTM's house counsel once told me that NTM was my brother in Christ.

While I do not believe that an organization can sin, it does not follow that I do not believe an organization can act contrary to the law or moral standards. Indeed, they can, and NTM has.

Legally, there are differences between a corporation/ organization and individuals. Organizations can commit crimes, just as individuals can. Organizations, can be convicted of crimes, just as individuals can. Organizations can be fined for those crimes, just as individuals can. Unlike individuals, regrettably, organizations cannot go to jail. So, the parallels between humans and the organizations they create are many, but do not extend to every detail. I maintain that the ability to sin against God is one of details that are different.

I don't mean to rule out a metaphorical use of the word "sin." It is, or should be, a strong word with overwhelmingly negative connotations. But, when used as a figure of speech in the same context as heinous crimes like those detailed on this blog/ forum, it can be confusing and has just a little too much of the smell of passing the buck about it. Blame should be placed on the guilty, and nothing should be said to mitigate that, to shift the blame to everybody or to nobody.

None of this lessens the responsibility of NTM, as a corporation, to acknowledge the inexcusable way that victims of abuse have been treated. I stated above (below?) that being in an organization is a tacit agreement with their policies. I need to add that it also a tacit approval of the actions undertaken by that corporation, and from that standpoint I can understand kari's remarks that "NTM operates as a unit, and speaks as a unit, and their actions as a unit were sinful." All the victims were wronged by NTM as a corporation, as an organization. I don't think that would make missionaries who knew nothing about these events guilty. But, now that they know, they should either support how NTM is now handling these past incidents, work within the organization to see changes, or leave it altogether. There isn't much room on the fence.

Like kari, I object to shifting the blame or minimizing the culpability. Nothing I have posted should be construed that way. I can't speak for Waukesha Grad; I have enough trouble speaking for myself. If s/he is implying that the things that happened were committed by individuals in the past and the corporation now has no responsibility or guilt, I would certainly disagree.

The main point of my most recent post was that Waukesha Grad, in her/ his efforts to defend the current NTM leadership, has taken a position that contradicts their publicly stated position. Maybe it doesn't. . .


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:56 pm 
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Re Achan: Individuals sin, but the sin taints the whole camp until the organization deals with the sinners. Look at what Daniel, that Godly man, prayed (Daniel 9): "Oh Lord...we have sinned and done wrong...this day we are covered with shame - the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel...because we have sinned against you."

I think what NTM is trying to express is the grief of the community at the sin and the atmosphere that encouraged the sin. That grief is appropriate and, God willing, will lead to repentance. Godly repentance will be displayed by corporate action in the discipline of the individual evil doers. However, acknowledging communal sin and repenting of it in no way diminishes or excuses the responsibility of the individuals involved in the specific evil.

Does that make sense?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:45 pm 
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Perhaps the better statement would have been to say:

"We as an organization sinned against these children. We permitted a organizational mentality to exist that minimized the voices of the victims, mistook position for innocence, and grievously harmed the testimony of the gospel."

Organizations can sin, in that they are comprised of sinful, fallen human beings who sin. The whole is not greater than its parts in this respect. As someone pointed out a corporate can be fined, sanctioned, and, in some cases, become defunct as the result of its actions.

Certainly the effects of institutional mechanisms that allow sinful behavior to go unchecked and undealt with is EXACTLY the type of situation Israel was confronted with when it came to Achan. VERY interesting to consider that passage and how severely God dealt with the sin in the camp's midst (Gee, Dad, why couldn't you have just left the clothes alone?!)

As an MK who attended NTM - Vianopolis, and knows personally many who are once again raising their voices of hurt, shame, and pain, I would hope that NTM prayerfully considers the report made by GRACE and acts swiftly to identify, quickly, all known abusers and leads in the effort of finding them, notifying sending churches, and ensuring that not a single one of them continues on in ministry under the umbrella of NTM. Furthermore, any known abuser still living ought to be reported to local authorities. Such actions would also ensure that the information is out there for access by other missions organizations should any perpetrator seek to switch missions in order to continue on a field.

I think, from an institutional standpoint, the FANDA report is a good step forward, but NTM will show how seriously they take the sin individuals within the mission committed against God and others, by the actions they take in light of the clear evidence of abuses and institutional cover-up that happened on the FANDA field. Sadly, such actions were replicated in other fields, as well. Those fields should be investigated as thoroughly as GRACE did with FANDA. I believe that if NTM squarely confronts those occurrences, as well, calling a "spade a spade" and doesn't attempt to waffle or shift blame, then I honestly believe the mission, as an organization, will be the better for it. If, however, NTM prevaricates (and trust me, those abused will KNOW if NTM does or not) or gives lip-service to implementing GRACE's recommendation, I tremble to think what will happen to NTM as an organization and to individual perpetrators and those who participated in the cover-up.

It is important to note, there is a crowd of witnesses looking on, according to Heb. 12:1,2 . . .Christ Himself is watching!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:53 pm 
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Quite a lot is on the line here for NTM. I would go so far as to say the ministry of the Mission is on the line. How can God honor an organization that allows sin to fester in its midst in this way? And this has been going on for years! How dare they keep silent!

How dare they not respond swiftly to this sin and repudiate it. It has come to the place where years of silence about sin has resulted in embarrassing publicity to the world and to the place where non-Christians can mock the name of Christ. Sin needs to be brought to the Truth and the Light. The silence of the organization has made this public exposure necessary. When it is time for judgment to begin, it begins first with the people of God.

And than I stop and shudder. We that think we are so spiritual, that think we have no part in this, that think that we would never allow sin to fester, we should take heed lest we also fall. May God have mercy on us the Church, collectively and individually.


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