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A Simple Summary Of A Complex Dilemma
September 29, 2021, 10:00 AM

As Director of Missions for the Middle Florida Baptist Association, I  work with more than 30 Southern Baptist churches.  Last summer at its annual meeting, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) surprised most observers by rejecting the recommendation of the Executive Committee (EC) that they (the EC) oversee the investigation into reports of their own neglect or mismanagement of sexual abuse claims toward SBC churches and ministers, even some who serve on the EC.  

Instead, messengers voted to form a Sexual Abuse Task Force (SATF) that would oversee the investigation independently of the EC.  In doing so, messengers also instructed the EC to waive attorney-client privilege related to the investigation so that the firm conducting the investigation would be free to share any and all pertinent information they uncovered in a report that would not only be shared with the SBC, but with the public as well.  

To date (September 29), the EC has resisted following the instructions of the SBC messengers.  In Southern Baptist polity, the messengers at an annual meeting are the greatest human authority for our denomination.  It appears that the EC is trying to 1)reclaim the authority to hire the investigating firm, 2)hold on to attorney-client privilege and 3)control what will be contained in the final report that results from the investigation.  Messengers clearly voted against those three things happening.  

Pastors, church leaders and members of Southern Baptist churches are responsible to the victims of sexual abuse for how we handle this investigation.  Messengers sent a clear and unambiguous message that they wanted the task force in complete control of the investigation – not the EC.  We should communicate to EC President and CEO Ronnie Floyd and the Executive Committee that they must yield their requests and give all authority to the SATF alone.  It is the least we can do out of respect and compassion for those who have been victimized by pastors or members of SBC churches.  

Here is the mailing address for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
   SBC Executive Committee
   901 Commerce Street
   Nashville, TN  37203

 

Here are some links you may find useful in learning more about this situation:

Sexual Abuse Task Force
https://www.sataskforce.net/

The Executive Committee Staff
https://www.sbc.net/about/what-we-do/sbc-entities/executive-committee/staff/

Baptist Press (the news agency of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Executive Committee)
https://www.baptistpress.com/

Baptist News Global (the news agency of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship)
https://baptistnews.com/

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
https://www.snapnetwork.org/

A list of other helpful organizations, some of which are focused on the victims of sexual abuse
https://www.snapnetwork.org/other_organizations


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