With all due respect and deference to the authority and status of this Leader Council of the Pentecostal Movement of Norway, I consider the press release by Leader Sigmund T. Kristoffersen and Spokesman Andreas Hegertun to be a travesty of values and fairness, an abdication from the highest duties of our calling and, worst of all, an outspoken complicity with and approval of the evil practices of Barnevernet, the anti-family institution established by the government of Norway.
In order for these ministers to argue their point – which is to refute accusations that Barnevernet is acting on ethnic and/or religious prejudices – they commit grave errors of logic and Biblical interpretation, also misplacing compassion and ultimately avoiding the real issues at stake and thus the truth.
„We can not and will not make any statements, nor take a stand, in regards to the current case in Naustdal, Norway. However, in regards to the general situation in Norway…”
Let’s stop right here! When the accusation is generalized, bring specific cases of documented abuse and hide behind one to cover abuses of the system; when the accusations are on a specific case, divert to the overall positive picture. The problem is that Norway has a dismal record whichever way you look at it!
Norway has been convicted in the European Courts of Human Rights FOUR times for violations! It had also been demoted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from class A to class B! Norway had been accused and convicted for allowing accusations to be fabricated against parents and Barnevernet officials had been caught lying in Court by your own legal investigations!
But, again, you will not comment on a specific case! Then, my friends, what is the general situation made of? You guessed right: SPECIFIC CASES, MANY OF THEM! So, if you ignore the details, how do you qualify to examine the whole „situation”?
This is an error of logic, a deliberate and manipulative error of logic!
„… We want to say that in our experience the Norwegian authorities, including child welfare services, are treating different religious groups in a fair and good manner. We have no reason to suspect that we are being treated differently than others in our country, due to our faith.”
Now, this is apotheotic! So, you are not looking into anything specific with impartiality, asking questions of all parties involved, taking into consideration at equal face value all testimonies, looking into many other contested cases to see if there is a trend, but you talk about „your own experience” and your lack of „reason to… suspect”? How intellectually dishonest can you get?
This is where it gets to be pathetic:
„Regarding the matter of physical violence as a way of punishment towards children, we will repeat what the Leader Council has earlier stated: The church is to convey God’s unconditional love towards children, and we find no reasonable theological arguments for using physical violence as punishment when children do something wrong. On the contrary – in a time when it was common to set children aside, Jesus Himself invited the children to come close and sit on His lap. This narrative, and other passages, shows how great respect and love God has for each and every child.”
Here we have a chronic case of Biblical misinterpretation! Just because Jesus set a child as an example of purity and sincerity when it comes to accepting the Kingdom of God, just because Jesus accepted children in His presence so that He can bless them, that does not imply that Jesus would stand against discipline, correction and punishment for doing something wrong. And, no matter how you twist it and frame it, the Bible specifically allows for corporal punishment! I understand everybody shivering when reading some verses, but if you want to argue that it should be abolished, argue it any which way you want, but don’t use the Bible selectively and out of context. It’s theologically dishonest! Don’t take me wrong, I am not for violence and abuse, I do not condone excessive and often repeated discipline and corporal punishment of a child. But I cannot dismiss common sense, pushing to the other extreme the reality that, at times, children can be as abusive as adults. There needs to be a balance and it has to be negotiated in the best interest of the family with all its competing aspects. But in no way should we act in haste, decisively and irreversibly to separate and destroy a family. Norway cannot stand alone in the world when it comes to its self serving child protection laws, aggressiveness in pursuing and achieving at all cost the custody of the State for as many children as Barnevernet can get its hands on. As the international laws state, separating a family should be an act of last resort, on a temporary basis and children should be reunited with their biological parents as soon as circumstances permit. Dear Pentecostal leaders in Norway, don’t you think you should embrace this cause rather than catering to your sponsor, the Government of Norway? You remind me so well of the times when we were under communism in Romania, and our leaders were compelled to show their solidarity with an oppressive, vengeful government, even if it took ignoring the truth, passing by the hurt and misusing Bible verses that encouraged us into submission, at the cost of betraying the Body of Christ!
Well, if we want to get into doctrine, as far as the Bodnariu case is concerned, or any other such case for that matter, I welcome that debate anytime, anywhere! But here we have to deal with something much, much more sinister than it appears! The Pentecostals and their leaders in Norway have a threefold problem: lost values, lost venerability and lost voice! No wonder Norway had become the champion in church absenteeism even in Europe!
If you think this is harsh, please read Malachi chapter 2 and then learn what your mission should be in Malachi chapter 4! It’s your duty to call on your people, even Barnevernet and say: „We should turn the hearts of parents and children toward each other, not against each other! Our ultimate goal should be to see as many families together and happy, not disintegrated and desperate!”
Norwegian Pentecostals, either ask that of your leaders or replace them with godly servants! Don’t let the mercenaries of your government sell their souls and steal yours! As far as all the international Pentecostal organizations and associations of which the Pentecostal Movement of Norway is a part of, by not condemning and excluding it for such positions on evident human rights violations and compromising the truth and values of our faith, your own image will be tarnished and your own reputation compromised!
Here is the press release: Press release 12 jan 2016 (003)