"RESOLVED: that we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and/or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse…"
Thanks to the wonderful advancements in technology, I have been able to keep up with much of what has transpired at recent Southern Baptist Convention gatherings. This was the third year I have tuned into the SBC annual meeting via live streaming. The most exciting development I observed was the passing of Resolution #3 by the messengers who convened in Houston.
Here is a clip of what transpired for those who may be interested:
Peter Lumpkins, a Southern Baptist pastor and blogger from Georgia, published the vetted version of a resolution he originally submitted. The portion of the text in blue is the amendment he proposed in the clip, which messengers approved.
ON SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN
WHEREAS, The Bible is clear in its affirmation that children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3–5); and
WHEREAS, The Lord Jesus demonstrated His love for children by encouraging them to follow Him, correcting those who hindered them, and condemning those who harmed them (Matthew 18:3–6; Mark 10:13–14); and
WHEREAS, The sexual abuse of children remains an ever increasing criminal offense with more than 1.8 million reported victims of sexual abuse by more than 750,000 child abuse perpetrators identified in the United States alone; and
WHEREAS, Tragically, instances of sexual abuse have been perpetrated within Southern Baptist congregations, churches of other denominations, and other Christian ministries; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, call upon Southern Baptists to stand with our Lord Jesus in loving and protecting children as He does; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we remind all Southern Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities in addition to implementing any appropriate church discipline or internal restoration processes; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we likewise call upon all Southern Baptists to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in exposing and bringing to justice all perpetrators, sexual or otherwise, who criminally harm children placed in our trust; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we strongly urge Southern Baptist churches to utilize background checks like those provided through LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com/backgroundchecks), databases of sexual predators such as the US Department of Justice sex offender database linked at SBC.net (www.SBC.net/localchurches/ministryhelp.asp), or other relevant resources in screening all potential staff and volunteer workers, particularly those who minister to children and youth; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors and church leaders to develop and implement sound policies and procedures to protect our children; and be it further
"RESOLVED: that we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and/or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse; and be it finally"
RESOLVED, That we urge all Southern Baptists to pray for children who are victims of abuse, to stand for their protection from abuse, and to support safe and healthy children’s ministries in our churches and communities.
Bob Cleveland addressed the convention (see clip at 10:25 mark), requesting that the second "RESOLVED" be amended as follows:
to "remind all Southern Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report any ACCUSATIONS OF child abuse" (amendment in caps…)
Messengers voted in favor of this change to Resolution #3.
In a comment under this post, Cleveland explained:
"that change recommends against the ability of a church to investigate allegations, themselves, and decide whether they should be reported. With that on the record, I'd imagine any SBC church would dare not fail to report such allegations, lest they be without defense should the allegations later be proven true."
Earlier this week Janet Mefferd interviewed Peter Lumpkins on her radio program. Here is the link to their conversation, which begins at the 7 minute mark. Mefferd has been proactive in addressing the abuse of children, and we applaud her efforts. During the interview, Lumpkins explained that it was the second amended complaint against C.J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries, et al that compelled him to pen this resolution.
Lumpkins called attention to Sovereign Grace Ministries' recent move to Louisville (where the SBC's flagship seminary is located) and the unofficial partnerships between Mohler (SBC) and Mahaney (SGM) – particularly with regard to Together for the Gospel. Mefferd asked about prior SBC resolutions involving children, and Lumpkins explained that those passed in 2002 and 2007 concerned ministerial integrity. What makes this resolution different in our estimation is the amendment (highlighted at the top of the post) that focuses on denominational leaders and employees.
Many SBC resolutions have been forgotten over the years according to Lumpkins; however, he explained to Mefferd that he will not let this one die. In his post recapping the interview, Lumpkins shared this exciting update:
"As I indicated in the interview I have no plans to allow this issue to drop. Already, I have verbal interest or commitment from pastors or churchmen/churchwomen in several states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and of course Georgia to present either the same resolution against the sexual abuse of children we passed at the Southern Baptist Convention or even penning a stronger one for state conventions to consider. Southern Baptists must speak both boldly and imminently on an issue which affects so significantly the protection of those whom our Lord repeatedly spoke in one way or another, "Suffer little children…to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Mark 10:14).
My goal is to have at least half of our state conventions meeting in 2013, passing either the identical resolution against the sexual abuse of children we adopted in Houston or an even stronger resolution, calling for and encouraging tangible accountability at all levels of convention cooperation."
In an e-mail we received from Peter Lumpkins, he informed us that he has about 10 state conventions with persons willing to bring the resolution to the state level in the Fall. He also called our attention to an encouraging comment he received from a fellow Southern Baptist (see below):
"Peter, send it to me and I'll submit it through the process in the Maryland/Delaware Convention."
There are a lot of things we can disagree about in the evangelical community, but we should ALL agree on the child sex abuse issue. We must overlook our theological differences and come together for this particular cause.
We are so grateful that Peter Lumpkins has embraced this important issue, and we pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ will rally behind him to eradicate the sexual abuse of children. Please pray that his efforts are successful and glorifying to Almighty God.
What a wonderful world it would be if children were protected instead of being abused.
Let's work together to make this dream come true…
Lydia's Corner: 1 Kings 14:1-15:24 Acts 10:1-23 Psalm 133:1-3 Proverbs 17:7-8