A Statement on the SBC’s Task Force Report
I write this with a heavy heart. I want to address a situation in the Southern Baptist Convention, but before I speak to this issue, let me encourage you to be in fervent prayer for the families in Uvalde, Texas affected by the school shooting. The overwhelming grief and deep sorrow of these families calls for our love and prayers. Now, allow me to address a serious matter that has emerged in the SBC.
The 2021 SBC meeting in Nashville called for the creation of an independent task force to examine allegations of sexual abuse reports within SBC churches. A 288-page report was revealed on May 22 and can be found at sataskforce.net. This report addresses the handling of sexual abuse cases between 2000-2021 within the SBC and the involvement of the Executive Committee. The SBC website defines the Executive Committee as follows:
“The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention is comprised of 86 representatives chosen from qualified states and regions, and acts on behalf of the Convention between sessions. Although the Executive Committee does not control or direct the activities of Convention agencies, it reviews their financial statements and recommends the Convention annual operating budget. In addition, it receives and distributes the monies Southern Baptists give in support of denominational ministries, acts as the recipient and trust agency for all Convention properties, and provides public relations and news services.”
The report reveals allegations of abuse, consistent concealment of abuse, mistreatment of victims, instances of intimidation of victims and advocates, and resistance and opposition to sexual abuse reform initiatives. The level of corruption; concealment; and sinful, evil, and abusive actions on the part of a small but powerful group of people associated with the Executive Committee and the SBC in general is staggering.
I encourage you to read the report for yourself. Honesty and transparency are always our friends. The question is, how do we respond? Allow me to mention a few ways:
We need to repent, lament, and weep over the sin in our SBC.
We must pray for and act on behalf of the sexual abuse survivors.
We must review the policies and procedures of Thomasville First Baptist Church, so that we are doing everything possible to prevent abuse in any form at FBC.
Libbie and I are going to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting on June 13-15, and I will give a report to the church when I return. The Executive Committee is promising change, and specific recommendations are already being discussed.
I will schedule a meeting with the Administrative Committee of the Deacons to fully discuss the issues and receive their counsel.
We will clearly communicate to the church on this issue as we move forward.
In closing, we must not allow a few power-hungry, misguided, and sinful people dictate and determine the direction of the SBC. It is ALWAYS right to do the right thing. I do believe the leadership of the SBC is filled with people who love Jesus and want to do the right thing. When I hear reports of students graduating from our seminaries with a sincere desire to serve the local church, our NAMB (North American Mission Board) missionaries planting churches and ministering in North America, and the 3,800 missionaries scattered all over the world tirelessly proclaiming the gospel, I believe there is gospel hope! We are to go and make disciples of all the nations!
In these days, there is a sense that the Lord is working mightily in our midst at Thomasville First Baptist. May we be known as people of prayer, integrity, righteousness, compassion, kindness, and evangelistic fervor. May we be Jesus-honoring people.
Please know I love you and count it a great privilege to be your pastor.
Grace and peace,
Thomasville First Baptist Church