Seth Udinski, FISM News
This past week, leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) met to discuss the handling of sexual abuse allegations that have come to light over the last several decades. The situation in the SBC is difficult to navigate, as a web of related and unrelated allegations have recently been revealed. Currently, the convention sits at a stalemate on how to move forward. The victims and their advocates want transparency, while many SBC leaders seem set on protecting the denomination’s reputation.
The Executive Committee voted on Tuesday to prevent a third party from intervening in the investigation. Many SBC pastors were disturbed by this vote, seeing it as a deliberate attempt to keep the investigation from full transparency. Twelve pastors issued a statement explaining their frustration.
The statement said, in part:
We grieve yesterday’s vote by the Executive Committee, who in unprecedented fashion prohibited the will of the messengers for an open and transparent investigation. It is our opinion that the failed vote only justifies the need for an open investigation.
The investigation will receive $1.6 million in funding from the SBC. President Ed Litton, voted into office in June, is tasked with bringing the SBC through this difficult situation. Litton has made it clear that the goal of his administration is to bring the denomination to full account for any ways it contributed to or was complacent in sexual abuse cases.
The SBC is a historically strong demonization in terms of biblical faithfulness and theology. It holds sway in American evangelicalism as one of the largest Protestant denominations in the country with over 14 million members. A sexual abuse case like this could be devastating for the denomination, and Christians must be praying for our Southern Baptist brothers and sisters as they navigate this tricky and painful situation.