SBC and Sexual Abuse

February 12, 2019

We must spend time tonight praying for our Southern Baptist Convention.  Some of us in the SBC knew that a report would be released chronicling sexual abuse in our SBC churches.  We knew it was coming.  Seeing the first of a three part series released on Sunday in The Houston Chronicle done by reporters from both the Houston and San Antonio papers made real what we had heard, and made it even more shocking.  The first of the  three part series uncovered 700 (I think the number is conservative) cases of sexual abuse reported and documented across the SBC WITH SOME OF THE ACCUSED STILL SERVING IN SBC CHURCHES AND MINISTRIES.  Trevin Wax with Lifeway asks the right question, “what kind of Great Commission people are we if we move heaven and earth to send out missionaries to spread the Gospel abroad, but cannot muster the will to stop predators from ‘slaughtering the faith’ of people at home?”  
 
J. D. Grear who has come to the presidency of the SBC for a time like this along with other younger leaders have seen for some time what is the shaky ground that allows such predators to practice their evil wares in our churches, but have been rebuffed, rebuked and rejected when really biblically faithful responses are proposed.  Maybe the time has come that we will see clearly the hand of God in judgment against us for the way we have played fast and lose with the Gospel producing thousands of churches in which being saved has little or no real meaning as it relates to lifestyle changes, and church membership carries no responsibility because there is no accountability, and in most of our churches there is no spiritual leadership toward devoted discipleship coupled with the real practice of biblical church discipline.  It is for us the day of reckoning and the trigger is what will become more ramped up now in days to come about the vicious virus of sexual abuse in our churches.  But this report and what follows is the trigger; the problem is and has been for too many years our practices of evangelism disconnected from discipleship, our admission of members without any clear and convincing commitment to genuine Gospel driven change of life or clarity of commitment to basic biblical truth, and our polity that has made the desires of people for what the church is and what the church does the final arbiter of direction rather than the Spirit of God speaking through the Word of God to and through those whom God raises up to give spiritual direction to the church.  This day of reckoning will either lead to repentance and real change or it will lead to empty response of confession and contrition that carry no substance because nothing changes either in our proclamation or our practice.
 
This is a sad day for our SBC.  Make no mistake about it.  If you can read this report and you should and not be grieved then something is wrong with us.  But do more than read it.  Think through how we got here.  We got here because we are sinners.  Churches are made up only of sinners who are being saved by the grace of God.  Churches are led by men who are sinners saved by the grace of God.  But leaders in churches and members of churches take the grace of God seriously and know that it produces real change in our lives.  Churches that practice evangelism without discipleship, membership without responsibility, and the direction of the church without sound spiritual leaders who are devoted to discipleship and discipline do not take sin or grace seriously.  That is how we got here.  And it will get worse if we do not repent across our denomination, return to the Bible that we say we believe is inerrant and practice in our churches what Baptist churches did practice until the early twentieth century.  God has brought us to this place of clear judgment not to dismiss us but to discipline us and to call us to repentance.  So, how will we respond?