In Light of the Sexual Abuse Report, Why Remain In the SBC?

In a special episode of the Ask Me Anything Podcast, Pastor J.D. has recorded a message addressing the recently published report from the Sexual Abuse Task Force of the SBC.

Show Notes:

One of the questions I’ve gotten a lot since the publication of the SBC’s Sexual Abuse Task Force Report on May 22 has been, what does it mean to be a part of a group of churches that has this deep sin in its past? Are you going to stay in that convention?

First, I want to affirm that this is not the time to justify staying in the SBC or defending it. This is a time to lament and repent.

 But, since I have been asked that question, I do want to take the time to answer it:

  • The actions of those noted in the report do not reflect the will of the body.
  • I’ve always thought of my presidency and work in the convention as trying to keep the messenger’s convention out of the hands of a few who do not reflect the attitude of the SBC and seek to impose their will on the SBC. I believe my role was to stand in that gap and say, “You cannot have the power of the SBC. The people don’t want that.”
  • If there is one note of encouragement in all of this, it’s the fact the messengers themselves called for this report. This report was not imposed from outside or even called for by a leader—it was called for and voted on by the messengers.
  • To note, the SBC has a rather unique structure that allows this. This would not be possible in most denominations. It is a biblical and wise safeguard.
    • I want to be in a convention where the people have the power, because as we see, the leaders go corrupt quicker than the people! 
  • We are already seeing the effect of change as new people come onto the Executive Committee. 
    • The current Executive Committee staff did not know anything about some of the most egregious systemic failures, and that the current Executive Committee board and staff have already acted swiftly to refute and reverse what they can. The headlines aren’t clear about that, so our people aren’t either.

So, what has to change? 

    • People: This is a time to repent.
    • Pastors: We need a commitment to raise awareness.
    • Policies: 
      • Commitment to transparency
      • Shift of priority from protection of reputation of an institution to protection of victim
      • Shift of benefit of doubt from leaders to victims
      • Not allowing bureaucratic mumbo jumbo and legalese to keep us from doing the right thing

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