If our defense of innocent victims is to be credible, we should also defend and fully restore those exonerated after submitting to the humiliation and disruption of accusation and investigation. They should bear the consequences of their own sins, but not for the sins of a false accuser.
Because I sometimes write about Christian leaders who fall into scandal and sin, I was expecting the call.
A reporter from the NBC affiliate in my hometown of Charlotte, N.C., wanted to interview me about a local pastor whose church had abruptly placed him on paid leave while an “H.R. complaint” against him was investigated. This was not any church. It was Calvary Church, perhaps the most prominent church in town, with a massive cathedral-like building on a major thoroughfare. The pastor, John Munro, is a friend. Our tenures on the board of a local seminary had briefly overlapped. I had come to respect his wisdom and leadership in his church and in the community.
By the time the reporter arrived at my house two hours later, I had emailed people I trusted who might know something. One of them was an elder at the church. They politely but unequivocally told me they would not comment, that a biblical process was unfolding, that an independent investigator—someone outside the church with the skills and credibility to get to the truth—was looking into the charges, and that when that report was complete there would be a complete disclosure.
In other words, they were doing exactly the right things. And that’s what I told the reporter.