The Southern Baptist Convention is preparing to launch a major investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and a possible coverup.
The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has already commissioned its own independent inquiry through Guidepost Solutions, but messengers voted recently at its annual meeting to transfer oversight of that investigation or launch an additional one, Christianity Today reports.
“It is the least we can do for abuse survivors. It is worth the extra effort. It is worth the money. It is worth the time and attention,” said Grant Gaines, a Tennessee pastor who made the request for an outside task force. “If this investigation is worth doing, then it’s worth doing right.”
Executive Committee president Ronnie Floyd made the announcement that the Executive Committee had hired Guidepost to conduct a third-party investigation to review recent allegations.
“The Executive Committee respects the messengers. We need this deliberative process. We know this will make this convention stronger, and that is what I want,” he said.
The investigation comes after leaked letters described leaders dismissing victims, clearing churches of accusation, and resisting some efforts to address the abuse.
The investigation will cover 20 years of allegations of abuse claims allegedly mishandled by the Executive Committee. It will also take an in-depth look at the committee to see if dismissal is necessary.
According to the Houston Chronicle, one pastor who supported the task force was Troy Bush, lead pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker, Georgia, who blamed the Executive Committee for dismissing an inquiry involving a predatory music minister who had abused some 10 children. Bush said the review was dropped too early.
“Because the Executive Committee didn’t follow through doing what we consider the minimum level of inquiry, they didn’t contact us, any of the victims, or any of the churches involved, we believe the Executive Committee doesn’t have the ability to handle this task force or this investigation alone,” Bush said.
Photo courtesy: Southern Baptist Convention Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.