Home Christian News Southern Baptist Abuse Report Describes History of Coverups

Southern Baptist Abuse Report Describes History of Coverups

ERLC President Russell Moore commends the Advisory Group for its thorough reporting. “I hope all Southern Baptists will take the time to read” the report, he says, “as we unite and commit to root out this wickedness from our midst and care for those who have experienced this horror.”

Awareness, education, and compassion are key, according to the report. It emphasizes that churches “must be willing to enter into the messy reality of abuse and not hide from the reality that is surrounding us.”

As a survivor named Wendy told the Advisory Group: “You must not trivialize trauma’s impact with Bible verse bandaids and call it good. God calls you to more.”

Victor Vieth, author of On This Rock, is quoted in the report as encouraging churches to “not do anything new but rather something very old…to return to the message of Jesus and center our responses to child abuse on the words and actions of Christ.”

Embracing the Challenge to Change 

While encouraging churches to take the new “Caring Well Challenge,” Greear calls it an opportunity for congregations “to do whatever it takes to confront the abuse crisis and to care for the abused.” The challenge involves eight steps to complete throughout the next year, including building and training a “Caring Well” team, evaluating church policies and procedures, and having leaders work through a training curriculum. The 12-lesson series from LifeWay Christian Resources, titled “Becoming a Church That Cares Well for the Abused,” provides guidance from a variety of experts.

Tonight, before the SBC’s annual meeting officially begins, the denomination’s Executive Committee plans to consider a constitutional amendment stating that any church harboring sexual abuse or ethnic discrimination isn’t in harmony with the SBC. Additionally, a bylaws amendment has been proposed to form a standing Credentials Committee to evaluate such claims. The autonomy of SBC churches has been discussed as a possible cause for ineffective reactions to sexual abuse claims.

Also scheduled for tonight in Birmingham is a panel discussion on sexual abuse within the denomination. Panelists include Greear and Russell Moore, as well as advocate Rachael Denhollander and author Beth Moore.