Failing to Protect Christ’s Sheep – my piece in USA Today and interview with Tulsa World

On Sunday, 5/22/2022, Guidepost Solutions released the full report of their independent investigation of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee and audit of the Credentials Committee. Their findings revealed both shameful actions and inaction by SBC leaders at the executive level, as well as at the entity, local church, and personal levels with regard to acts of sexual abuse, failure to report of sexual abuse, and the mistreatment of victims and survivors of sexual abuse. A few days later, a list of abusers and offenders in SBC churches was released; names which have been known by many leaders for many years and should never have been kept secret.

I was approached for several interviews last week and also asked to submit a piece to USA Today. Below are links and excerpts to that piece and an interview with Tulsa World.

USA Today article: “Southern Baptist Convention has met a day of reckoning. We must do better to stop sexual abuse.” (5-29-2022)

A dark and difficult day has come for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). We knew it was coming. It needed to come. And it is devastating.

As the prophet Isaiah warned, “What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?”

The Southern Baptist Convention and our convention of churches now have nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, and no place left to look but inward.

For far too long, leaders and pastors have rationalized the cover-up of sexual abuse and the disregard or even shaming of victims by claiming we were protecting Christ’s church. Such rationalizations, in fact, lack any biblical reason.

After all, if we who are called shepherds are not protecting Christ’s sheep, we are certainly not protecting his church.

It’s also long past time that we open positions of leadership and influence to our faithful SBC women who have been warning us of these dangers for years and yet have continually been ignored and denied seats at the table.

Having almost exclusively male leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention has clearly failed both victims and survivors of sexual abuse. Thankfully we have many faithful women of the highest caliber in the SBC who are ready to help lead us forward at this critical time.

Tulsa World article: “‘Heartbroken and sickened’: Oklahoma church leaders react to Southern Baptist sex-abuse allegations

I am mortified by what this report reveal. At the same time, I am thankful that this information was revealed.”

Our convention and many of our churches and leaders have failed to protect the most vulnerable who have been entrusted to us. We have also failed to create a safe environment for victims to report abuse and for survivors to share, heal and help protect future victims.

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