Dr. Diane Langberg: Understanding Adult Clergy Abuse

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The Roys Report
The Roys Report
Dr. Diane Langberg: Understanding Adult Clergy Abuse
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If a pastor or someone in spiritual authority lures a married adult into a sexual relationship—is that abuse or an affair? And can an adult engage in a sexual relationship, but not be culpable because she was manipulated by a sexual predator?

On this episode of The Roys Report, Julie explores this very difficult and sensitive issue with Dr. Diane Langberg. Dr. Langberg is a practicing psychologist with 47 years of clinical experience working with trauma survivors and clergy. And her most recent bookRedeeming Power, reveals how authority can be abused in the church.

This issue of adult clergy abuse is particularly relevant after last week’s podcast episode featuring Katie Roberts. Katie is a married woman who says her sexual relationship with her seminary professor, Dr. Art Azurdia, was abuse, not an affair

Clearly, Dr. Azurdia was in a position of power over Roberts. And what Roberts described in the podcast was definitely predatory behavior.

Yet a sizable number of listeners objected, saying that an adult cannot be groomed by another adult. And even if Roberts was groomed, they believe she’s still culpable for her behavior.

Is that true? Or is there something many in the church are missing about the nature of adult abuse?

Julie explores these issues in this enlightening podcast with world-renowned expert on abuse and trauma, Dr. Langberg. 

Katie Roberts has also written an article on how she came to view her relationship with Dr. Azurdia as abuse, not an affair. To read that article, click here.

Diane Langberg Ph.D.

Diane Langberg, Ph.D. is globally recognized for her 47 years of clinical work with trauma victims. She has trained caregivers and church leaders on six continents on how to recognize and respond to trauma and the abuse of power in a healing way. Her most recent book is Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church (Brazos).

Show Transcript

SPEAKERS
KATIE ROBERTS, JULIE ROYS, DR. DIANE LANGBERG.

JULIE ROYS 00:04
If a pastor or someone in spiritual authority, lures unmarried adult into a sexual relationship, is that abuse or an affair? And can an adult engage in a sexual relationship but not be culpable because she was manipulated by a sexual predator? Welcome to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And today I’m going to be exploring this very difficult and sensitive issue with Dr. Diane Langberg. Dr. Langberg is a practicing psychologist with 47 years of clinical experience working with trauma survivors and clergy. And her most recent book, Redeeming Power, explores how authority can be abused in the church. In fact, in November, I recorded an entire podcast with Dr. Langberg on that book. So if you like this podcast, and I’m pretty sure you will, because Dr. Langberg is brilliant, you may want to go back and listen to that previous podcast. But here’s why I invited Dr. Langberg on now to discuss the issue of adult clergy abuse. Last week I published a podcast with Katie Roberts. Katie is a married woman who says her sexual relationship with her seminary professor, Dr. Art Azurdia, was abuse not an affair, and I agreed with her. Clearly Dr. Azurdia already was in a position of power over Roberts. And what Roberts described in our podcast was definitely predatory behavior. But I’ve received a lot of comments concerning that podcast and there were a sizable number who said that an adult cannot be groomed by another adult. And even if Roberts was groomed, she’s still culpable for her behavior. To be honest, Katie’s culpability was not the focus of my podcast. My focus was and is on exposing predators in the church. And I don’t feel it’s my place to judge victims of abuse and their culpability. That said, the podcast does raise some important issues. And I think as a church, we have a long way to go in understanding abuse. So I’m very much looking forward to discussing this issue with Dr. Langberg. And I can’t think of anyone more qualified than Dr. Langberg to address this issue. But before we dive into that discussion, I’d like to thank the sponsors of this podcast, Judson University and Marquardt of Barrington. Judson is a top ranked Christian university providing a caring community and an excellent college experience. Plus the school offers more than 60 majors, great leadership opportunities and strong financial aid. Judson University is shaping lives that shape the world. For more information, just go to Judsonu.edu. Also if you’re looking for a quality new or used car, I highly recommend my friends at Marquardt of Barrington. Marquardt is a Buick GMC dealership where you can expect honesty, integrity and transparency. That’s because the owners there, Dan and Curt Marquardt, are men of integrity. To check them out, just go to buyacar123. com. Well, again, joining me today is Dr. Diane Langberg, a globally recognized authority on sexual abuse in the church. She’s also the author of numerous books, including Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Suffering and The Heart of God, and Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church. So Dr. Langberg, Welcome, and thanks so much for joining me again.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 03:21
Thank you, Julie. It’s good to be here.

JULIE ROYS 03:23
So Dr. Langberg, I think before we discuss any particulars of the podcast last week, and Katie Roberts and Dr. Azurdia’s relationship, I really would love you just to define what is adult clergy abuse, and how is it that an adult can be abused when he or she seems to be in a consensual sexual relationship?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 03:44
First of all, adults can be extremely vulnerable in a multiplicity of ways. You know, being a certain age does not make us not vulnerable. All humans are vulnerable, some more than others, for many different reasons. So for example, if somebody with a long history of sexual abuse is vulnerable because they are confused by what’s happened to them, and how to think about it, and how to protect themselves and all of those kinds of things. People can be vulnerable because they’ve been going through difficult things in their life, and they’ve been suffering, and they want care. And so they don’t see when something is coming at them that is actually abusive. They’re hungry for good care. We don’t think about vulnerability, and we don’t think about power, which everybody has to some degree. So when an adult is hurt, or abused by somebody, we often blame them. I’ve seen this in the church for many, many, many years.

JULIE ROYS 04:46
So what distinguishes clergy sexual abuse or sexual abuse, you know, in general, I mean, from just your regular run of the mill seduction?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 04:59
It’s a power differential, and usually a pretty big one. So a professor in a school, a pastor in a pulpit, the head of a company, the boss, the teacher in the classroom, you know, all of those people are in positions of authority and power. And we pretty much want and do typically trust them. You know, my teacher is going to do good things. My pastor is going to do good things. And so there’s not vigilance there. So when something happens that seems inappropriate, like a touch of some kind that was inappropriate, we are confused. Unfortunately, that renders people more vulnerable.

JULIE ROYS 05:41
Part of the reason that we’re doing this podcast now is because I recorded a podcast last week, and it involved Katie Roberts and Dr. Azurdia. And it sparked a lot of conversation about whether or not Katie in this case was culpable. Let me just establish this from the start, is what Katie experienced adult clergy abuse? I mean, Dr. Azurdia wasn’t her pastor per se, but he was her professor. I’m guessing he fulfilled, in many ways, what she described the same sort of spiritual role. So would it fall under adult clergy abuse?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 06:22
Yes. First of all, it was at a seminary, right?

JULIE ROYS 06:25
Right. Yes.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 06:27
This is somebody who is teaching about the scriptures, and who has authority in the classroom and authority to say what the Scriptures say and what they mean and all kinds of things. And he also was a pastor, whether he was hers or not, that’s who he was. And so we assume that trustworthiness in such people. And the spiritual component of it makes us do that even more. If you’re in a relationship with somebody else, as a student, it’s not a seminary, and the person has a lot of power, they can flunk you, they can do all kinds of things to you. And you expect them to be there for you because they’re teaching. But at the same time, when you add all the spiritual language, and atmosphere and all of those kinds of things, it gets very confusing. It is abuse.

JULIE ROYS 07:16
There definitely was this power differential. But I think what complicates this particular case is that Katie, when this whole relationship first became public, she went in front of her church and confessed it as adultery. And I do have a clip that I wanted to play from her confession, because I think it will give us a feel for this is how it was first presented to her congregation and how she first felt about it. And I’m really interested in your feedback on that. So let me just play a segment of that.

KATIE ROBERTS 07:52
My dear brothers and sisters, my heart is broken. As I need to confess my sin to you this morning. I have committed adultery and in doing so, been unfaithful to my husband. I had a desire for emotional affirmation that I allowed a man other than my husband to meet, and that is wrong. This then led to sexual sin, which is also wrong. In addition, as I have continued to live and do ministry while hiding this sin, I have wronged you with deception and hypocrisy. All of this outward sin reveals a heart that selfishly and rebelliously failed to love the Lord, failed to love everyone, including Richard, the rest of my family, and all of you as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

JULIE ROYS 08:59
So again, that’s Katie Roberts when she first confessed this to her church. It’s hard to listen to in a way. I mean, my heart just breaks for her. I can just imagine how she must have felt at that time. And I’m guessing Diane, you counsel so many people who are in a situation where they’re coming out of something like this, and they feel so confused. And I’m thinking of Lori Anne Thompson. Because this was the first time that I had talked to somebody when I talked to her about her relationship with Ravi Zacharias, that I was introduced to this idea of adult grooming. But when she told me her story, I got it. I could see how she was just drawn in and manipulated and somebody like Ravi just preyed on her weaknesses. But when somebody comes out of abuse, and they are feeling obviously guilt and shame and a lot of different things, when you hear Katie in that statement, I mean, what do you hear what is good or what is not good in what you were hearing?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 10:00
Well, I would tread very carefully in those places, first of all, whether it’s in my office or a podcast or anyplace else. Partly because the human heart is not something I fully fathom. What I would suggest is that she was very burdened by what had happened. And that’s pretty much the way that we deal with it. There aren’t really that many options within Christendom for such things. And so it’s like, there’s a box, you put it in, and it goes in the box. And then later you figure out that there’s actually other boxes you didn’t even know about. But at the same time, part of what we’re talking about is the work of the Spirit in a person’s life. So you can have somebody who’s been hideously abused, and who really does the work of figuring that out and confronting it in in their lives and telling the truth and all those kinds of things. Who will, toward the end, say, this part I have to own. I don’t know how to say whether there is something that ought to be owned by her or anybody else. That’s not my work. That’s the work of the Spirit. I don’t make assumptions about that. On the one hand, she is putting something in a framework that I think is a wrong framework. I can talk about that in terms of just from the scriptures how it’s a wrong framework. But at the same time, I would not say it’s 100% wrong. I don’t have the capacity to make that judgment, which I think part of what this means is, when somebody’s struggling with these things, it’s a call to the church, not only to love and care for but to humility, as if we know the heart?! We don’t even know our own!

JULIE ROYS 11:49
That was my response to a lot of the comments is that I said, I felt like my job as a reporter, and really what my calling is, is to call out predators in the church, and to make sure that they don’t get re-platformed. That was my purpose in doing this. At the same time, also want to love Katie as her sister in Christ, and be as gentle as I can be with her. But I don’t think it’s my place to say what percent she was culpable or not culpable. And I’m somewhat surprised by some of the commenters who seem to be very clear about what she’s culpable for and what she isn’t. I’m like we weren’t there. We don’t know their hearts.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 12:28
And that’s why I said it needs humility.

JULIE ROYS 12:31
Yeah.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 12:32
Those comments do not have humility in them. They’re talking about somebody they’ve never met, for goodness sakes.

JULIE ROYS 12:37
Yeah. Let me ask you this, then. And I know there’s also false guilt that victims get.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 12:42
Oh yes.

JULIE ROYS 12:43
But can there be some situation where there is abuse, but there also is something that someone needs to own?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 12:50
Yes, I think so. But again, I think that is way down the line after dealing with the abuse, and truly understanding it and finding some healing and all of those things. Because you can’t really make right judgments about a situation like that, unless you first go through that process. Everything is still clouded. And this is a woman who was abused as a child. You know, this is abuse upon abuse. And the abuse as a child always shapes the adults. And that’s part of what is happening when we’re growing up. We’re being shaped. And so she had the death of a father, she had abuse as a child. Her vulnerability was extremely high.

JULIE ROYS 13:30
So I want to read some of the comments, and I would love for you to respond to them. Because again, when I read these, I was like, I can respond to this, but I’m not the expert. And I would rather get it directly from someone who is and who works with abuse survivors all the time, because it’s amazing to me how a lot of us have opinions, but we haven’t spent the time really listening and applying the scriptures in these situations and wrestling with some of the Scriptures and how they apply. So let me just read this. One of the listeners said Yes, Art Azurdia acted as a predatory, spiritually abusive, despicable serial grossly immoral over a long time, wolf in the situation with Katie Roberts and should not be in a ministry position. However, I did not hear Roberts take any responsibility or express any repentance in the podcast, which is troubling. Especially since she was active in ministry activities during her years long relationship with Azurdia, and still is now as a Bible teacher. This seems to be rooted in her current false supposition that adultery and some kind of abuse of power or spiritual abuse are necessarily always mutually exclusive, so that she is totally absolved of any moral responsibility in her relationship with Azurdia. How do you respond to that?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 14:46
Well, I think it’s full of assumptions. The assumptions about abuse, assumptions about how people handle it and being very certain about the right way to do it. And I’ve been a student of abused people for almost 50 years. I still don’t fully get it. I am still learning. So that the judgements of people’s hearts and not entering in me, our Lord became flesh. He entered into our crazy sinful lives like us. So when he says, I understand, he does understand. When people respond like that they don’t know. And they’re sure they’re right. And they may be right about some things I don’t know. But the point is, it is the harshness and the certainty and the judgment that is troubling to me. Because it certainly does not invite victims in our churches to come forward. It terrifies them.

JULIE ROYS 15:43
I thought it was really good that Katie presented it as an alternate reality. Describe how that happens, that people can get convinced of something that is not true, that then allows kind of gives the environment for a predator to abuse them?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 16:00
You go back to her history. You know, her father died when she was four. She never had a daddy. She was abused. So she’d already lost protective power in her life, and had power used to hurt her in her childhood. It’s like a setup for being abused later. You’re hungry for Daddy, you’re hungry for protection, you’re hungry for attention. If somebody has the capacity, which this man did, to tap into that hunger, you can’t think straight. Think of it on a physical level. Suppose you’ve been starved and somebody brings you food. You’re not going to test it to make sure it’s not poisoned. All you need and want to do is eat because you’re starving. And you eat, and something feels better. So you eat more. You’re easily exploited when you’re hungry.

JULIE ROYS 16:56
And talk about the role of deception. Art Azurdia, according to Katie, had her convinced that their emotional intimacy was fine. That that was something that just met a need. It was okay. But also that adultery, nothing can be labeled adultery unless there is sexual intercourse.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 17:15
Yes. That’s a common theme.

JULIE ROYS 17:15
I know there was a case of a leader who was involved with a woman who was not his wife. And he was very much I would say, the predator in this case. And according to both of them, they engaged in everything but sexual intercourse. But because of that, the leadership didn’t take it as seriously.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 17:22
Well, first of all, that’s ridiculous.

JULIE ROYS 17:41
Thank you.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 17:42
That’s a clinical term. Because I actually just finished doing some writing about the seventh commandment, you shall not commit adultery, and the origin of our word for adultery is in the Latin. It has to do with being unfaithful. So you’re being unfaithful if you sit up all night and look at pornography. You’re being unfaithful if you’re doing anything remotely sexual with somebody other than your spouse. You’re being unfaithful if you treat your spouse with violence. It’s not just about intercourse. That’s human beings reducing something that God said. He talks about an adulterous nation. It was being unfaithful, primarily to him, and then to the people here that we are supposed to be faithful to. People don’t think of it that way. What it is, is human beings are always looking for escapes and ways to deceive themselves that what they did, that’s bad is good. Adam and Eve did it. We haven’t stopped.

JULIE ROYS 18:47
Some others mentioned in the comments that Katie was in a teaching and counseling position with other women at the time of her relationship with Dr. Azurdia. We know she was on The Gospel Coalition with their women’s ministry. And somebody wrote, Katie failed to mention that she was teaching and counseling women while this interaction with Art was going on. Many women were damaged to hear that this was going on while they were hearing God’s Word from her. Teachers are to be held to a higher standard. She also gave sinful counseling to other women who were having marriage trouble. So she has her own victims who have to bear seeing her return to ministry. We were told there was repentance. This sounds like somebody who was at our church. We were told there was repentance, but now she is supposedly 100% victim. Was that repentance voided?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 19:35
Well, first of all, repentance being valid or voided is God’s decision not mine. I don’t have that capacity. But at the same time, it takes sex out of the picture, when human beings are living unfaithful lives for any reason. Of course, it trickles down and affects other people. You can’t be verbally abusive in a home, and get up and preach and have that be okay. You can’t! We do. Nobody knows. You can’t be confused the way she was and teach well, but that’s part of the confusion is you don’t know that.

JULIE ROYS 20:14
And one thing I’ll say with Katie, it’s my understanding, she stayed in her church, unlike Dr. Azurdia. Who went elsewhere and then had some sort of restoration plan in another church. Which just kills me that somebody can go through a restoration plan without the people who were actually hurt being restored.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 20:33
This is the head scratcher.

JULIE ROYS 20:35
Mark Driscoll supposedly did the same thing. And now we know he’s back doing the same thing he was doing before. But there are people who have different opinions on this about whether or not someone can ever be involved in adultery, and then go back to ministry. I would say one, they need to go through a restoration process at their own church where it happened involved with the people they hurt. But secondly, I do think there needs to be some sort of understanding about how culpable were they. Yet, at the same time, does he have a point though, that I mean, somebody who’s in a teaching position, Scripture says that teachers are held to a higher account. Is there a higher standard that should be applied in these situations?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 21:18
It’s not a restoration to a position. It ought to be restoration to a right relationship with God that saturates your life. If you haven’t done that, even if you’ve never abused anybody you shouldn’t. So we’re making it about a thing, a position. It’s not about that. Years ago, Peggy Noonan wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal, about John Profumo, I think his name was, and he was doing all kinds of sexual things in England and breaking the law and everything else. And he got found out. And he responded to what happened to his life, by going to an, I don’t remember the details, but by going to someplace that took care of poor people or poor men or something. And he took the job of cleaning toilets. And he did it. And he did it. And he did it. And he did it. And eventually, he was asked, basically to move up the ladder. He didn’t ask to do so. But he went there doing that, assuming he was gonna do it for the rest of his life. So it’s the faithfulness to God, and cleansing and humility before him. And recognizing that, you know, this position thing is not a fruit of the Spirit. It’s something humans do, and it’s our character that’s the issue here. And if that’s not restored to godliness, or maybe goes there for the first time ever, we’ve completely missed the point.

JULIE ROYS 22:51
What can we learn from situations like this, about how we, as a church respond to victims of adult clergy abuse? I’m hearing one thing you’re saying, and I don’t think we can emphasize it enough – humility, and allowing the Holy Spirit to be the judge, and not us. What else would you add to that?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 23:14
In Matthew 7, Jesus says, Beware of the false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, and inwardly are ravenous wolves. That is a remarkable statement. And the church does not typically believe that. If they’ve got sheep’s clothing on, I trust them. And if you come and tell me they were a wolf, I don’t believe you. It means that people can be in leadership positions, shepherding positions, whatever they are, who looked like sheep, and act like wolves. And we want to deny the second part. So we don’t protect, we don’t safeguard our churches. We don’t believe little children when they say they’ve been abused. But this is from the mouth of our Lord. He talks about teachers, basically, who speak orthodoxy. You can be a fabulous orator, and know the scriptures, but whose life is false. And that’s a wolf. We have wolves in Christendom. We’ve always had them. We’re going to have them until Jesus comes back. We darn well better learned to really truly sink into that scripture and come to understand it. And know that there are always people in our churches in our circles, who are looking to exploit the vulnerable. That’s what they want to do. The purpose of their sheep’s clothing is to hide their true nature. And if somebody is verbally gifted and charismatic and has a lot of money coming into the church and all those things, we see that as fruit of a good sheep or Shepherd. It has nothing to do with that.

JULIE ROYS 24:50
Thank you for saying that. I think we have completely forgot that the fruit we should be looking at is character. We should see the fruit of the Spirit in the person.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 25:01
Yes.

JULIE ROYS 25:01
Gentleness, kindness, self control these things.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 25:03
Well just look at this case. There was no self control in this man.

JULIE ROYS 25:08
No.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 25:08
He certainly wasn’t kind.

JULIE ROYS 25:10
And it was all about possessing something for himself. Taking it.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 25:14
He fed off of her.

JULIE ROYS 25:16
It’s shocking. And it’s shocking that they come in very orthodox clothing, like you said, and yet we’re surprised by that. We think that the wolves will be the ones with, you know, prosperity gospel. Somebody out there hawking some heresy. But I think that is what the church, if there’s one thing that the past few years have shown us, is that that particular thing is the best disguise for the evangelical community. Is somebody who’s a champion of our doctrine, somebody who is a champion of our politics, we will excuse almost anything in that person. And it needs to stop and we will side with that person over the victim. And we need to start seeing that these victims need help and support and we’re just not doing it.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 26:05
We’re also not loving the abuser. The abuser is full of poison, it’s killing him. And he can’t stop. And we minimize that. We don’t call it what it is. And I would also add to this, going back to the Scriptures when talking about those who feed off the vulnerable, the place where Jesus got ticked off at people was with the spiritual leaders. That’s where he cracked a whip and turned tables over. Not with the sheep. He did it with those who are supposed to be shepherding the sheep and were not. And He called them a den of robbers. And if you think about that word, a den is a safe place for a robber for a predator. The animals that live in dens are looking for food when they’re not in there. And he called the synagogue and it’s leaders that.

JULIE ROYS 26:55
Lastly, I know that there going to be people listening right now who have been victims of adult clergy abuse or are currently victims of adult clergy abuse. Would you speak to that person who really is just struggling right now, to figure out how they’re supposed to think about what happened to them, how they’re supposed to deal with it?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 27:18
I would say that it’s important to find a safe person. Somebody who actually understands these things, and knows how to think about them and knows how to walk alongside somebody to help them heal. Probably not going to be somebody that you already know really well or something like that. Because in a season where people are telling their stories, which is fine, and they need to be told, and we need to be humble and listen and learn. But sometimes it’s not safe to tell your story. Or it’s not time yet, because it will hurt you to do so. You need to do some work before you have the strength to go out there and call the wolves wolves, because they’ll come after you. And so finding a safe person with knowledge, and who will want to know what it’s like to be you, will enter in and learn from you what it was like and let you teach them. And then not only safe people like that, but then if you’re going to tell your story, do it from a place of growth. So that you become caring of yourself in that way. You don’t want to just toss yourself out there with your story when you’re still so vulnerable. You know, you’ll get a different kind of wolf coming after you then telling you didn’t do it, right. So it’s hard when you’re hurting, to pause. And to be careful who you go to and to find a safe place. And then to do at least some of the work before you decide whether or not you’re to speak. It’s very hard to do that. But it is protective of you. And you are worthy of that protection. Our God is a refuge. He knows you need protection.

JULIE ROYS 29:04
Well, Dr. Langberg, thank you so much for taking the time to talk about this. And I just thank you for the way that you’ve used your ministry and your platform to help so many people. I tell you, this is not the first podcast we’ve done. I hope it won’t be the last as well. And I always hear from people who say, Wow, that was so eye opening for me. Totally changed my paradigm. Helped me think about things in a whole new way. So I’m just so grateful for you and your ministry and I appreciate you making time to respond to this podcast and to what happened with Katie. You might even want to I’m sure Katie will listen to this, so I don’t know if you want to say anything to Katie as well. Because I know this is tough for her.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 29:46
I see her as a woman of courage. I see her as a truth teller. I don’t you know, know anything about her heart and where it is now but she clearly is still pursuing God which is always astounding to me when people who carry his name and have power, do damage to us of any kind. And people are still seeking Him. And it’s part of his miraculous work, frankly. But I honor that search and know that God will continue to use what was evil in a redemptive way for her and her family, and probably for many of us.

JULIE ROYS 30:25
Beautiful words. Thank you again, Dr. Langberg. Really appreciate it and appreciate you taking the time.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG 30:31
You’re welcome.

JULIE ROYS 30:32
And thanks so much for listening to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. If you’d like to find me online, just go to JulieRoys.com. Also, we’d love it if you’d subscribe to The Roys Report on Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. That way you’ll never miss an episode. And while you’re at it, I’d really appreciate it if you help us spread the word by leaving a review on the podcast. And then please share the podcast on social media so more people can hear about this great content. Again, thank you so much for joining me today. Hope you have a great day and God bless.

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6 thoughts on “Dr. Diane Langberg: Understanding Adult Clergy Abuse”

  1. Excellent sequel to last week’s podcast. And a reminder for us all to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19).

  2. Elaine Mercer

    Really excellent follow up to last week’s podcast. I think she’s correct that we need to remember about the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Funny how we know the verse, yet don’t apply it often enough.

  3. Mark Zimmerman

    The first question at the top of this podcast presents a false dichotomy, which is fine as a rhetorical device, but causes serious errors if it is wrongly taken to be an absolute either/or choice between adultery and abuse, as Katie Roberts and her pastor husband now do, shown when she states on her blog: “Over time, we realized that those categories [‘adultery’ and ‘abuse’] are mutually exclusive.”

    Dr. Langberg speaks truth about adultery when she dismantles the lies and justifications of adulterer and abuser Art Azurdia, ending with these words that have broader application to all of us: “…It’s not just about intercourse. That’s human beings reducing something that God said. He talks about an adulterous nation. It was being unfaithful, primarily to him, and then to the people here that we are supposed to be faithful to. People don’t think of it that way. What it is, is human beings are always looking for escapes and ways to deceive themselves that what they did, that’s bad is good. Adam and Eve did it. We haven’t stopped.” (17:42)

    Unfaithful to God, and others, looking for escapes, deceiving (and being deceived), from the beginning until now.

  4. I am interested in Dr. Langberg’s research on “adultery” and unfaithfulness… are there an links to access this information? much appreciated!

  5. In her confession before the congregation, Katie Roberts said it was wrong “that she would desire emotional affirmation from a man other than her husband”. In cases where a woman is stuck with an emotionally immature husband, he may logically share the blame for her actions. But could an established religious group culture (Even A Seminary) also bear some responsibility for promoting unfaithfulness in marriage?

    Inside some “Christian” cultures, loyalty to and affection toward a group’s charismatic leader and to his prolific ministry may grow to the extent that it even overshadows marriage vows. For example, when one believing spouse no longer feels good about the group’s founder or “guru”, a divorce might be allowed, or even encouraged by some of the group’s leaders. Inside such a culture, even the marriages that outwardly seem intact may be poisoned by a mutually agreed upon (nonverbal) reassignment of loyalty or affection to the group & it’s leader. In these environments, Biblical teachings on how husbands and wives should primarly love and be faithful to each other’s sacred marriage vows will be completely lacking – replaced instead by teachings that stress the importance of remaining loyal to the group and to it’s leader. Children raised in such a confusing (group think) environment will suffer in ways that are unimaginable. This was observed inside the “Lord’s Recovery Movement” of Witness Lee that I was trapped in for 35 years. I really do hope that at some point Julie Roys will look into this group. If anyone needs information about this group, visit mendingministry.com

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