Chris Rush, Editor & Publisher of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise Newspaper in OK, wrote the following this past Sunday: “This was a strange, sad and terrible week. First, we learned that the executive director of this city’s, if not one of the world’s, most significant and impactful Christian ministries had suddenly died. Although an official ruling still has not been made as to the precise cause of death, all indications appear that Tom White, the widely admired long-time leader of The Voice of the Martyrs, took his own life. The organization acknowledged as much in a press release late Friday afternoon. That same statement issued by VOM also acknowledged more unsettling news — that White was the subject of a law enforcement investigation which had been launched in the wake of very recent allegations that he had improper contact with a young girl. In short, the accusation is child molestation.” Wow! What a shock. VOM is a wonderful and strategic organization and I pray that this awful and sad circumstance will not impede its ministry. However, there are two things to be learned here. The first thing is that Mr. White had a secret life that no one (at least to our knowledge) knew about. And so as I sat reading his lead article in the March issue of VOM monthly magazine titled “Eating the Bible in Egypt,” I had no idea that a secret this deep was eating away at Tom’s heart and mind. I don’t know about you but there is something very destabilizing when someone in ministry is hiding something so devastating that it drives that person to take his own life. It makes me very sensitive to the sin in my own life and the utmost importance of coming clean before God and others. I must be vigilant that nothing drives me to such shame and remorse that I am deceived into thinking I am beyond the pale of redemption. This is the “stinking thinking” that comes as the result of the deceitfulness of sin. The second thing to be learned is the very sobering statistics of child molestation in this country. The National Sex Offender Registry:
- The average child molester will molest fifty girls before being caught and convicted.
- A child molester that seeks out boys will molest 150 boys before being caught and convicted and he will commit at least 280 sexual crimes in his lifetime.
- The standard pedophile will commit 117 sexual crimes in their lifetime.
- Most sexual abuse happens between the ages of 7 and 13.
- There are over 491,720 registered sex offenders in the United States.
- 80,000 to 100,000 of the above offenders are missing.
- Molesters known by the family or victim are the most common abusers. The Acquaintance Molester accounts for 70-90% of reported cases.
This was a sad, strange, and terrible week. May its lessons not be wasted and let us pray for comfort and healing in the life of this child and her family. And let us pray as well for Tom White’s family whose pain and sadness cannot be imagined.