With the release of the Guidepost Solutions investigative report on abuse within the SBC on May 22, 2022 Johnny Hunt had a fall from grace of epic proportions. I first will give some background information on Johnny Hunt. There is nothing new here, just rehashing the factual information.
Then, at the end of this article you will find several short video clips taken from a June 26th talk that Senior Pastor Jeremy Morton gave at the morning church service of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, GA. It appears to be an effort by Pastor Morton to be transparent as well as put the Johnny Hunt scandal behind them.
First, I wanted to post an ironic devotional by Johnny Hunt that I came across in my research for this post.
“And almost coincidentally during this outside investigation, allegations of abusive behavior surfaced against a former SBC president who — until last week — was the No. 2 leader of the SBC’s North American Mission Board.
“During our investigation, an SBC pastor and his wife came forward to report that SBC President Johnny Hunt (2008-2010) had sexually assaulted the wife on July 25, 2010. We include this sexual assault allegation in the report because our investigators found the pastor and his wife to be credible; their report was corroborated in part by a counseling minister and three other credible witnesses; and our investigators did not find Dr. Hunt’s statements related to the sexual assault allegation to be credible,” the executive summary of the Guidepost report states.
According to NAMB President Kevin Ezell, Hunt, who is 69, resigned his role as senior vice president for evangelism and leadership Friday, May 13, “effective immediately.”
Ezell called the details of the Guidepost report “egregious and deeply disturbing.”
“Prior to May 13, I was not aware of any alleged misconduct on the part of Johnny Hunt,” Ezell said on Sunday afternoon, May 22. “I learned the details of the report today along with the rest of our Southern Baptist family.”
About an hour and a half after release of the report, Hunt issued a statement via Twitter [The Twitter link no longer works, but a screenshot of Hunt’s statement is below.] confirming he had indeed resigned from NAMB but denying the allegations of abuse:
“I vigorously deny the circumstances and characterizations set forth in the Guidepost report. I have never abused anybody.”
Source: Baptist News Global; “Former SBC President Johnny Hunt admits improper conduct but denies abuse claims.”
Steve Baughman – the Banjo Skeptic, was not the only one upset with Johnny Hunt’s hastily contrived denial. (It was published the same day the Guideposts investigative report on SBC abuse was made public, though Hunt said he had not yet read the report.) What follow is only a handful of the many negative comments made on Twitter in response to Hunt’s denial.
Johnny Hunt and Ravi Zacharias apparently were good buddies. We know they both traveled the world to….ahem, “preach the Gospel.”
Ravi endorsed a book authored by Hunt, saying, in part: “Applying these truths will save you a nightmare of regrets.” Zacharias would have known.
Steve Baughman was the individual largely responsible for bringing the truth to light regarding Ravi Zacharias. Below Steve speaks of a conversation he had with Johnny Hunt. This video was recorded in 2020. Hunt spoke at the Grand Opening of the Jivan Wellness Clinic and defended Zacharias and his “clinic.” In what I found to be an amazing confession Hunt told Baughman he was a regular customer at the “health spa.” This seemed like something a leader in the SBC should steer clear of and it raised a red flag in my mind, although it didn’t seem to phase any of Hunt’s apologists.
My guess is Johnny Hunt had a PR individual from the SBC get in touch with him and advise him he desperately needed to craft another statement. He did just that a mere five days after his initial denial, producing a video message and a written letter to his church, although it was clearly published for wider distribution.
I compiled some typical comments from Facebook on the new statement Hunt produced. Of all the comments I saw only a few that mentioned the victim and her family, and as you can see below it was a “praying for all involved” type of comment.
Unfortunately, these types of responses are what we always seem to see from church members. They rally round the man they idolize and don’t say a thing about the woman abused by the pastor.
On June 26, 2022 Jeremy Morton, the man who replaced Johnny Hunt after he resigned from First Baptist Church of Woodstock, GA spoke to the church on what is happening with Johnny Hunt. I have some clips from his talk below, but first is a link to the whole talk on YouTube. You may wish to view the entire talk so you get it all in context.
Link to Jeremy Morton’s talk at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, GA.
Morton did mention a few times that they support all victims, but the majority of his talk had to do with how they as a church were ministering to Johnny Hunt and his family. No mention was made of anything they were doing to help the victim and her family. As a matter of fact, Morton said only two people were in the room and they are the only ones, besides God, who knows what actually took place. It seems to me Morton tends to believe Hunt’s version.
I believe the woman’s version. Her story has been corroborated by three others. Also, and this is not a minor thing, having investigated many such stories, the pastor is overwhelmingly the individual who lies. We have already seen Hunt do so in this situation. These guys only admit to facts that are undeniable.
Morton and Hunt both seem to have “restoration” of Hunt as their goal. What exactly that means I don’t know. Restoration of Hunt’s tarnished reputation? Restoration of Hunt’s title of Pastor Emeritus? Hunt preaching again?
My view is Hunt should never preach again. Sure, he can attend church again, but he should not be restored to any type of leadership role. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.