Tom Ascol, Florida pastor and one of two leading SBC presidential candidates, said, “This is who we gave our tithe dollars to?”
“I & 47,000 other SBC pastors, plus millions of faithful members feel betrayed. We paid $millions to a LGBT-affirming & proud organization to guide us on moral & spiritual matters!? Is there no fear of God?” Ascol continued. “They are trying to play us…AGAIN! Brothers & sisters, we have a Book. We must use it. I pray that the messengers do the right thing & instruct the EC to use Christians, & THE BIBLE, to redraft these recommendations.”
Some comments below Ascol’s Twitter thread suggested that by hiring Guidepost Solutions for the investigation, the SBC had funded the “LGBTQ agenda” with tithe dollars sent from local churches to the Cooperative Program fund.
Nevertheless, others within the SBC pointed out that Guidepost Solutions investigation had shed necessary light on the stories of abuse survivors and that implementing reforms is still vital, regardless of Guidepost’s stance on sexual ethics.
Abuse survivor and advocate Tiffany Thigpen said that Guidepost Solutions investigators showed survivors “more care, concern, compassion, diligence, willingness” and responses in seven months than the Executive Committee and other SBC leaders did over the course of 30 years.
“No one including, #survivors, @GuidepostGlobal, @SBCTaskForce, are asking you to change beliefs, ethics, doctrine- we are asking you to live it out,” Thigpen further expressed. “Follow Jesus’ commands to protect, shepherd, mend, show justice & mercy. We’ve carried the message/burden, now it’s your time to act.”
South Carolina SBC pastor Marshall Blalock said, “If anyone was looking for an excuse not to deal with sexual abuse and mistreatment of survivors within the SBC, Guidepost Solutions provided the perfect cover yesterday with their ‘pride’ month tweet. I was both disappointed and stunned.” Nevertheless, he reaffirmed his belief that the report and recommendations are valid.
“Guidepost is a multinational secular company that specializes in corporate investigations. They are not a Christian company although they routinely work for Christian organizations. The SATF chose them for their expertise and capacity to complete the investigation in time,” Blalock continued, further arguing that while hiring a Christian company would have been preferable, “no other firm had the capacity to do this work.”
“Guidepost did a professional investigation, they operated with integrity, they respected our faith and values, they even ate a significant amount of the cost because they wanted to help us discover the truth and assist us to be more Christlike in how we respond to sexual abuse,” Blalock said. “The SATF is refining and improving the recommendations right now based upon the insights of many across the SBC who want us to make the right steps. The bottom line: Had we taken these steps 20 years ago, thousands of abuse victims could have been spared.”
Bart Barber, who is an SBC pastor in Texas and another leading candidate for SBC president, tweeted, “[I]f we were going to accept the rationalizations given for working closely with atheists like [James Lindsay], it would seem that anything would be possible, I can’t rationalize things away like that.”