Several members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC)—which has 86 members total—are upset that an EC “spokesperson” published an official committee statement Thursday, Sept. 30, without consulting them.
“I don’t appreciate a statement being made on behalf of a committee where I am a member,” said Florida pastor and EC member Dean Inserra. “I was not consulted. Actually, guessing none of us were…Ridiculous. Livid.”
I don’t appreciate a statement being made on behalf of a committee where I am a member. I was not consulted. Actually, guessing none of us were. @SBCExecComm
— Dean Inserra (@deaninserra) September 30, 2021
SBC Executive Committee Addresses ‘Disinformation’
“With one collective voice our Convention is expressing its concern for victims of sexual abuse and that is a very good thing,” said the EC post, which was titled, “A Statement from the SBC Executive Committee.” It continued:
The executive committee leadership also appreciates the continued engagement & active interest of Southern Baptists nationwide in this process.
However, we are concerned that too many of the statements issued reflect disinformation, half truths, and mischaracterizations of the motives and actions of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is committed to fulfilling the will of the messengers including by granting appropriate access to investigators to the documents and information they request to do their work. There is no attempt to defy the messengers or hide information from investigators.
The statement went on to say that the EC is working with the Sexual Abuse Task Force (SATF) and doing its best to honor the will of the messengers “without risking unnecessary damage to the Southern Baptist Convention. For instance, the Task Force admits their process may cause the loss of the Convention’s insurance.”
Despite clear direction from messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, the EC has stalled on deciding whether or not to waive attorney-client privilege in the investigation into whether or not it mishandled allegations of sexual abuse. The SATF is an independent body overseeing the investigation.
After failing to come to a decision on Sept. 21 and again on Sept. 28, the EC will meet to decide on the question of waiving privilege on Tuesday, Oct. 5. However, the fact that the committee has repeatedly put off waiving privilege has led to outrage across the Southern Baptist Convention and mounting pressure from various leaders, including the presidents of the SBC’s six seminaries and multiple state conventions.
Other Executive Committee Members Reject Statement
Other EC members joined Inserra in voicing their disapproval of the EC’s Sept. 30 statement. Mike Keahbone tweeted, “Although I am a new member of the EC and desire a godly and unified process; this statement released today was a surprise to me. I had no hand in crafting the message nor does the statement accurately depict my heart or thoughts.”