For the past year, the Southern Baptist Convention has been embroiled in controversy around the issue of sexual abuse. At the annual gathering in June of last year these issues were brought to the forefront, with stories of predators, wolves cloaked as shepherds who moved from church to church, preying on the young and vulnerable. Individual churches failed to protect the victim and seek justice for these evil people, and the culture of the denomination as a whole created an atmosphere where predators could move from church to church to church, continuing in ministries where they used the pastoral office as a pathway to ruin lives. Since that meeting in 2018, major newspapers have published articles publicly exposing these problems (I wrote on those articles here). Of course, they brought shame, but also presented us an opportunity to repent and take action to protect the innocent. This is why I was so pleased to participate in the events that took place at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention this past week in Birmingham. During the business gathering there were multiple declarations and clear steps set forward both for local churches and the network of churches together. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission along with Lifeway has published a book and video training for churches that will help make churches safer for kids and women, and dangerous for predators. The SBC also created clear steps to disfellowship from churches that do not take the issue seriously and deal clearly with this sin.
My purpose for this blog is not to go through all the issues. There is plenty of information about all these events. The main reason I wanted to publish a blog post here is to share a video and encourage your watch from this meeting. This video is a panel hosted by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of Southern Baptists on the issue of sexual abuse in the church. I believe it is helpful and can move us toward being the type of church we must be on this issue. So take an hour and watch, then pray and ask God to help us act to protect the vulnerable and properly respond if this horrible issue ever reaches our church.