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Former SBC President Johnny Hunt Cleared To Return to Ministry Despite Sexual Abuse Allegation

The spiritual care team shared that Hunt and his wife underwent intensive counseling, adding that this was in addition to the 16-weeks of private counseling the couple received 12 years ago when the incident took place.

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Kyle said the team observed Hunt’s “genuine brokenness and humility before God. We look forward to the days ahead to see how God continually leads in Johnny’s life and to be there to offer our continued support.”

“These last few months have been [an extreme] blessing to me,” Whitson said. “To be able to love on Johnny and to love on Janet and the family and to be able to say, ‘Man, I’m excited about what God has for you in the future.’ … So I’m grateful for the opportunity to say, ‘Johnny, thank God for you. I love you. God’s got great things in store for us, and I look to see what God’s gonna do.’”

Hoover praised Hunt for the effort he put toward the restoration process, saying, “When Johnny has conviction, he puts everything he’s got into it—all of his energy, every minute, and we’ve seen the same conviction during these last several months. He has made this process his full-time job…ensuring that he’s fulfilled the biblically required process of repentance and restoration.”

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The four pastors have a combined 150 years of experience, something Hoover said allows them to recognize whether someone is truly repentant, adding, “We have seen nothing but godly repentance in Johnny’s life as he’s been forced to face this in such a public way. And we’re all committed to continuing to walk with Him in the years to come.”

Tate cited the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 to explain the decision to restore Hunt to ministry, saying, “When I heard about this situation with Johnny Hunt, what rode in my mind is, ‘I want to be a Good Samaritan.’ I sure don’t want to run away from him. I want to run to him. I want to help him.”

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“But I gotta be honest with you, I had a motive for why I wanted to help him,” Tate went on to say. “In my life, I don’t know of anybody in my ministry who’s done more to help preachers than Johnny Hunt. Perhaps you do. I don’t. I just made up my mind that I didn’t want to be a priest. I didn’t want to be Levite. I wanted to be a Good Samaritan and help my friend, because I would hope, if I’m on the side of the road, that somebody would stop by and help me bind up my wounds.”

Tate added, “I believe that God is going to use our friend Johnny Hunt in a great great way in future ministry.”

“We believe the greatest days of ministry for Johnny Hunt are the days ahead. And I’m thankful that we have a God that that forgives, restores, and a God that works in powerful and mighty ways,” Kyle said.