Southern Baptists OK resolutions designed to fight sex abuse

More than 8,000 members of the Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to take action to stem a sex abuse scandal that has stunned members and caused rifts within America’s largest Protestant denomination.

Pastor Bruce Frank of Biltmore Church in Arden, NC, called it a “kairos” moment — a providential time for action.

“Either we humble ourselves before God, or God will humble us,” he said, addressing delegates in a cool Anaheim conference room before the vote. “This is a landmark moment where we will choose between humility and hubris.”

Frank is the Chair of the Sexual Abuse Task Force established at the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention meeting to study how to respond to widespread reports of allegations of sexual abuse by senior members of the Executive Committee for nearly 20 years of the group were ignored or covered up.

An explosive 288-page report The description, commissioned by SBC and released last month, describes how executives disregarded survivors’ reports of abuse, seemed more concerned about protecting perpetrators than victims, and denigrated survivors as “opportunists” while attempting to avoid legal liability which gave top priority to SBC.

Frank said the task force spent thousands of hours reading reports, speaking with survivors and deciding the best course of action.

“Most of all, we want to say thank you to the survivors,” he said. “Thank you for your patience, your persistence, your grace and determination. You are the heroes in this room.”

The sex abuse vote was the most pressing item on the congressional agenda, leading some to predict the gathering would be the most momentous and possibly most contentious in years.

The task force proposed two recommendations that were put to the vote on Tuesday. The first was to set up another task force to implement sex abuse initiatives. The second was the creation of a “Ministry Check” website that credibly lists accused offenders associated with SBC communities to prevent abusers from easily moving to other communities.

There was some debate about the two motions. Among those who opposed the recommendations was Mark Coppenger, former president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who questioned how widespread the abuse was and why he should pay for the sins of a hypothetical church nearby.

Tim Overton, pastor of Kingston Avenue Baptist Church in Anderson, Indiana, said the report was tainted because the independent third-party group that created it, Guidepost Solutions, tweeted in support of LGBTQ people this month. Southern Baptists overwhelmingly believe that sex is only permissible between a man and a woman in marriage.

“This is a group that celebrates sexual sin,” Overton said.

He asked that the resolutions be tabled for one year. Some listeners gasped audibly at the suggestion.

Brad Eubank, pastor of Petal First Baptist Church in Mississippi and abuse survivor, spoke on behalf of the recommendations.

“Please, let’s start the healing process today,” he said.

The vote was cast using yellow ballots held aloft by congressional delegates known as messengers. There was no question which side won. When SBC President Ed Litton announced that the recommendations had been passed, applause erupted in the room and several delegates rose.

Another topic discussed on the first day of the two-day gathering was whether Orange County’s Saddleback Church should remain in the conference after the ordination of three female pastors. No decision was made. Saddleback, founded by Pastor Rick Warren, is the largest church in Congress, but in 2000 the SBC declared that only men could be pastors.

The SBC also voted to pass a resolution that would declare it reprehensible atrocities committed against Native Americans in the name of religious conversion and oppose forced conversions. The resolution was spearheaded by Mike Keahbone, a Cherokee who serves as the senior pastor at Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Dwight McKissick, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, who is Black, introduced a motion to remove the names of slave owners from buildings and endowment chairs in Southern Baptist seminaries.

Observers say the SBC is at a crossroads. The top two men running for president of the group offered different visions of their future. Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, advocates what some call a “big tent” vision for Southern Baptists, while the more conservative Tom Ascol advocates a more literal — meaning the Bible — approach to decision-making. manufacturing.

After a late-day runoff, Barber was elected president by just over 60%.

“Hallelujah! I’m so happy,” shouted a man exiting the convention center after the vote.

SBC’s roots are in the Southeast, and this marks the first time in 41 years that California has hosted the annual meeting. There are around 2,500 Southern Baptist Churches in California and a far more diverse congregation than in other states. For example, only 25% of Southern Baptist Churches near Anaheim offer services in English.

Lynan Alexander, the retired director of missions for the East Bay Baptist Assn., who has worked with 140 churches, said that despite the tensions, the convention felt pretty normal to him.

“There are always people on different sides of the issue,” he said. “That’s the way they usually go.” Southern Baptists OK resolutions designed to fight sex abuse

Alley Einstein is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button