40 minutes | Jan 19th 2021

92. Against a Culture of Abuse, with Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer, authors of A Church Called Tov

Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer have written a powerful book that addresses abuse of power in churches.  The book is titled, A Church Called Tov, and the purpose is to help churches nurture cultures of goodness (the meaning of the Hebrew word tov).

In this episode, we discuss why some churches develop toxic cultures of abuse and how to work against that by nurturing cultures of goodness.


  • Laura Barringer is a second grade teacher and this is her second book co-authored with her father, Scot McKnight.
  • Scot McKnight is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary.  He is also a prolific author and an ordained Anglican deacon.
  • Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer were attending Willow Creek Community Church when allegations against Bill Hybels began to emerge.
  • Scot and Laura were led to write about the need for a goodness culture in churches.  This is why they wrote A Church Called Tov.
  • Willow Creek was misusing Scripture as it defended itself.
  • Scot McKnight explains why they felt it was important to name the pastors who abused women in their churches when writing A Church Called Tov.
  • In the Bible, people’s stories are told “warts and all.”
  • Tov is the Hebrew word for “good.”  Tov describes the fullness of total moral behavior.
  • A tov church/pastor/elder/person does not abuse power, women, or children.
  • Scot McKnight is not comfortable with “leadership culture” in churches.  The word “leader” is not a significant word in the New Testament.
  • Pastors should not be promoted as superstars.
  • We won’t develop a culture of tov if we are only counting how many people show up on Sundays.
  • Scot McKnight is interested in seminaries becoming institutes of tov formation.
  • You can reach Scot and Laura on Twitter at @scotmcknight and @laurambarringer.
  • You can follow Scot McKnight's work at his Jesus Creed blog.


Links to Amazon are affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through any of these links, I’ll receive a small commission–which will help pay for the Spiritual Life and Leadership podcast!

Support the show (http://patreon.com/markuswatson)

Play Next
Mark Played