the shape of leadership

What Churches Should Learn from Religious Scandals

A conversation with Warren Cole Smith

George P Wood on April 28, 2022


On January 6, 2002, reporters for the The Boston Globe began publishing a series of stories about clergy sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. Their revelations went on to garner a Pulitzer Prize and shine a spotlight on similar scandals in other dioceses.

Evangelical churches weren’t immune from criticism either, and not just on the topic of clergy sexual abuse. The past few years have revealed scandals among some of America’s best-known and largest ministries, ranging from sexual abuse to financial fraud to spiritual abuse.

In Faith-Based Fraud, Warren Cole Smith writes, “The problems I recount in this book are not organizational problems that can be solved with new regulations and procedures. The problems are spiritual and theological ones that merely manifest themselves as organizational problems.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with Smith about what churches should learn from religious scandals. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Warren Cole Smith is president of MinistryWatch, whose purpose is to be “an advocate for transparency, accountability, and the renewed credibility of Christian ministries.” He is author of Faith-Based Fraud: Learning from the Great Religious Scandals of Our Time, published by WildBlue Press.

This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of MEGA Sports Camp.

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