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Southern Baptist Abuse Task Force Requests $3 Million for Reforms, ‘Ministry Check’ Website

One of the first responses to the recommendations came from Tom Ascol, a Florida pastor and leading candidate for SBC president. Ascol has been critical of the task force, claiming in a candidate forum that it had become “politicized” and saying local churches should handle any misconduct by SBC leaders.

“I am reading through the SATF recommendations for #SBC22 & looking for any Scripture reference & can’t find one, not even in the rationales,” he said on Twitter. “Did I simply overlook them?”

Tom Buck, a Texas pastor and Ascol supporter, said on social media that some of the task force recommendations are unbiblical.

Phillip Bethancourt, pastor of Central Church in College Station, Texas, and a former executive vice president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted his support for the recommendations.

“These are common sense first steps we should take in Anaheim,” he said.

Robin Hadaway, another candidate for SBC president, said the recommendations “seem reasonable and wise.”

“I felt like the recommendations that they just announced are wise and are something that should be positively considered by the messengers,” he said of the delegates who will attend the upcoming annual meeting.

In a video posted on social media, Texas pastor Bart Barber, another presidential candidate, said it was important to follow the direction set during last year’s annual meeting and reaffirmed his support for the task force and investigation.

He said that the proposed task force was crucial in responding to abuse, saying it would help determine whether the SBC becomes “healthier or not in responding to and preventing sex abuse in Southern Baptist churches.”

In 2007, SBC messengers asked the SBC’s Executive Committee to look into the possibility of setting up a database of abusers. Even though the SBC’s lawyers said it was possible, according to the Guidepost report, Executive Committee staff opposed the idea.

The idea was eventually rejected by the Executive Committee in 2008, but staffers there kept a secret list of hundreds of abusers for years.

The SBC Executive Committee plans to meet this week.

Adelle Banks contributed to this report. 

Phillip Bethancourt’s title has been updated. 

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This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.