“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.” Bill Gates
Abuse Reform Implementation task Force (ARITF) goes live on 12/22.
As directed by the Messengers of the SBC at the 2022 annual convention in Anaheim, the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force Team has been formed and assigned the implementation of abuse reform measures. Please go to their website at https://www.abusereformtaskforce.net/ for communication and all future updates.
Some inherent problems in the database.
Setting up a database and hiring a for-profit company like Guideposts is anticipated to be expensive. Also, the SBC is vast and international, and its churches are considered autonomous. This means collecting the data will be difficult, especially in the beginning.
Think about it.
Baptist Press posted SBC task force says Ministry Check website for sexual abuse will require cooperation. Will the churches cooperate? At this juncture, it is my opinion that many will not, but many will. The person will need to be credibly accused.
What does it mean to be credibly accused?
The database also will hinge upon a definition of the term “credibly accused,” which the task force has defined in four possible scenarios:
- The individual was convicted of a crime of sexual abuse.
- Civil judgment has been entered against the abuser for the sexual abuse.
- The individual confessed to sexual abuse in a non-privileged setting.
- A qualified, independent third-party, commissioned by the appropriate local church or SBC entity determines according to civil court standards that the person is credibly accused, following a properly conducted independent inquiry.
It is dependent on the cooperation of each church.
In other words, the data made available about known abusers will be only as good as what churches are willing to report. This goes to the heart of the challenge in keeping a database of “credibly accused” and convicted sex abusers across the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination — a denomination with only voluntary ties between churches and agencies.
Unlike United Methodists, for example, who operate in a connected system where all clergy are accountable to bishops, Southern Baptist clergy are accountable only to the local churches they serve.
What about Johnny Hunt’s situation?
Even though Hunt was accused in the Guidepost investigation, which would be considered a qualified third-party group, he was exonerated by some SBC pastors who disagreed with the report.
Various factions within the SBC now debate whether he was guilty of sexual abuse.
Also, what happens when a group considers itself “qualified” to exonerate someone like Hunt?
Yet critics of the investigation itself — and allies of Hunt in particular — sought to discredit the Guidepost report as an insufficient and flawed investigation. The same thing conceivably could happen with a church’s independent investigation that may use legal standards but not carry the force of law.
Guideposts Faith-Based Solutions will plan to review such instances.
I assume this group will report their findings to the Credentials Committee, which might then expel an individual or church and claim they are no longer in “friendly cooperation.”
The SBC is not proposing any denominational entity or contractor to conduct such investigations about clergy. It will be up to each local church or entity to find their own path and submit their findings to Faith-Based Solutions for review, although the task force said it would recommend “qualified firms for churches or Baptist bodies to consider
How much will these new efforts by the SBC cost? $3 million and counting.
What is this Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force you are recommending?
Per the Guidepost recommendations, we are recommending that the 2022 SBC president appoint the volunteer ARITF to help in implementing and assisting with reforms. The ARITF will roll on a year-to-year renewal basis, and any vacancies will be appointed by the SBC president at the time of the vacancy. The ARITF will study and report on the reforms, and also serve as a resource for entities and associations who seek help with reform measures.” When the SBC passed the “Covenant for a New Century” in 1995, it also established an implementation task force to assist with restructuring the convention. This recommendation is in keeping with that precedent.
So, how much are these reforms going to cost?
For the first year, IMB and NAMB have graciously agreed to fund the sexual abuse reform allocation in the amount of $4 million from Send Relief, with $1 million of that set aside for survivor care. If the cost of grants for independent inquiries for churches exhausts the $3 million, any further inquiries would roll to the following fiscal year. Should that occur, the ARITF will report to the convention and request additional funding at that time. The ARITF will report back on the website’s progress and costs to the convention each year of its existence.
The ARITF will work collaboratively with entity heads to recommend funding mechanisms for reforms for following years.
How is the money going to be used?
When dealing with new processes and procedures, it is important to understand that the allocation amount is our best estimate. The ARITF will report back each year of its existence regarding budgeting shortfalls or excesses, as well as recommendations for any changes. The 2022-2023 $3 million allocation would cover:
The Ministry Check website development and initial influx of submissions
New staff and/or independent contractors to help with survivor assistance and church assistance
The Credentials Committee’s use of an independent firm to conduct inquiries for factual findings, in accordance with SBC polity, Article IV of the Constitution, and Bylaw 8
Monetary grants for independent inquiries by a qualified firm into accused individuals
If the funds in the first year’s sexual abuse reform allocation are exhausted, any further grants for independent inquiries would roll to the following fiscal year.
Sex abuse reform in the SBC will be expensive. Was it $3-4 million or $9-10 million?
Let me make myself clear. These reforms are necessary and should be funded without delay. One thing I learned in my MBA program is that money matters. The average SBC pew sitter assumes that the money they donate will be used as described. Some might think it goes to missions if their church contributes to the IMB or NAMB. I have found it quite strange that many of the divisions in the SBC do not need to say how they are spending the money and who is getting paid what. This has worked for a long time. The SBC is in trouble. It has lost members due to the Covid mess (people enjoyed being Bedside Baptists who tune in online) and others due to the bad publicity of the sex abuse crisis. I would assume that money will be tight.
$4 million for IMB/NAMB
Religion News Services wrote an interesting article: Who will pay for the SBC’s abuse reforms over the long term? No one knows.
Since leaving SBC, I have become more interested in how donated money is used. It appears money can come from all sorts of sections in the SBC that may or may not be thought of as dealing with sex abuse. For example, the following statement seems to sync with the information from the above Sex Abuse Task Force reports.
Send Relief, a partnership between the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and North American Mission Board that does compassion ministry, provided $4 million in initial funding. That will pay for setting up the Ministry Check website, which could cost as much as $2 million, according to Baptist Press, an SBC news publication.
Paul Chitwood, president of the IMB, and Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, told Religion News Service in an email that they support the abuse reform and that the Send Relief funding has been “more than adequate for the Task Force’s implementation expenses to date.”
“The IMB and NAMB continue to invest significant resources in doing all we can to ensure that we care for survivors of abuse and protect against abusers,” Chitwood and Ezell told RNS in an email.
Executive Committee: $6.7 million towards the Guidepost investigation and the DOJ investigation
But the Executive Committee also reported losing $6 million, and they claim it was due to funding the sex abuse.. and legal fees for the DOJ investigation.
The committee’s unrestricted assets, which had previously totaled just over $12.2 million, dropped by $6 million in the last fiscal year, according to a report during a committee meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, last week.
That kind of loss is “unsustainable,” according to the committee’s auditors.
A spokesman for the Executive Committee said most of the decline is due to short-term expenses, including the 2022 Guidepost sexual abuse investigation — which led to abuse reforms — and legal fees related to a subsequent Department of Justice investigation.
The Executive Committee has also paid the cost of implementing some abuse reforms, including a hotline to report abusers.
The SBC is interesting. They don’t have to tell us much of anything. They can suddenly come up with $ 4 million from this group and then find $6 million from another group. Those are just the ones they are telling us about.
Stop-just how expensive is the DOJ investigation, and what exactly is the DOJ looking at?
Things are really quiet on this front. Has anyone heard anything?
The SBC will have to spend the money to show the world they are doing something about their terrible history of sex abuse. One can only look at the Catholic church and see how much money they lost. Transparency is on the table, and they should be transparent about the money they are spending and the salaries they are paying with some of this money. Until then, I still have trouble trusting the SBC.
i.e. THE SKIM IS IN!
“Money for Nuthin, and the chicks for FREE!”
— Dire Straights
Remember when the second O.J.Simpson trial (the civil one) decided against him for a couple million in Weregild, how instantly and suddenly OJ was completely penniless?
“We will spend every penny we have on programs to help the victims and to convict the ones who commit these crimes. Abusers are being sent a message and our money will be well spent.”
Oh wait, I didn’t read that. It sounded like “I dunno, this looks like it is going to cost a lot. Can we just do a little and see how that goes?”
“ The database also will hinge upon a definition of the term “credibly accused,” which the task force has defined in four possible scenarios:
The individual was convicted of a crime of sexual abuse.
Civil judgment has been entered against the abuser for the sexual abuse.
The individual confessed to sexual abuse in a non-privileged setting.
A qualified, independent third-party, commissioned by the appropriate local church or SBC entity determines according to civil court standards that the person is credibly accused, following a properly conducted independent inquiry.”
Color me confused. Given the criteria for an individual’s name to be listed on the database, what is the purpose for shelling out all that money to Guidepost Solutions???
Looks like everybody and all of their brothers involved in this “task force” are just going to sit on their hands with their heads in the sand and wait for victims to call secular legal authorities anyway, and then wait for those authorities to take care of business for them. What a waste of pew peons’ hard earned money.
And, much can it cost to have a few people keep a list updated when everything on the reported offenders is a matter of public record.
I say never mind the SBC and their oh so concerned godly men….. just call the law.
I’m just wondering if they’ve set money aside for the inevitable lawsuits which will name the SBC as the deep pockets. Especially after the SBC gave Saddleback the left foot of fellowship last week. Kinda hard for the SBC to claim they’re just a voluntary association when they act like a denomination.
“For the first year, IMB and NAMB have graciously agreed to fund the sexual abuse reform allocation in the amount of $4 million from Send Relief, with $1 million of that set aside for survivor care.”
Which is just a fraction of the combined IMB & NAMB annual budgets of $500 million.
“The SBC is in trouble. It has lost members due to the Covid mess (people enjoyed being Bedside Baptists who tune in online) and others due to the bad publicity of the sex abuse crisis.”
And many others exited after realizing this is no longer the evangelistic, mission minded denomination they joined. The New Calvinists are not preaching a Gospel for “All” people, but indoctrinating their congregations with reformed theology (contrary to the non-Calvinist belief and practice of millions of Southern Baptists) … so many long-time SBC members are joining the Done ranks – done with SBC, but not done with Jesus.
The discrepancies between what monies been spent, what the SBC actually has, and all the various entities involved, is becoming increasingly convoluted. What happened to supporting the victims?
I suspect the legal fees were the bulk of the expense. A bit like saying one is short of money because of paying one’s 10 year old’s allowance and those recent business trips.
I note the picture of Tycho’s Supernova. When it was first sighted in 1572, it was seen as a new star and one that at its peak (about 2 weeks after its first sighting) was at least as bright as Venus. It took well over a year to cease to be visible to the naked eye (telescopes weren’t invented yet). The supernova sighted in 1006CE was brighter and even visible in daylight. So was the one in 1054CE (remnants are the Crab Nebula).
This post focuses on 3 critical elements to the SBC’s leadership: power/position, money, and membership (or “butts in pews” as one blogger called it). Making it easier for abusers to work in SBC churches is going to decrease donations and butts in pews in the long term. So it seems that keeping all that power within their “good ole boy” network is the leadership’s highest priority. I guess we’ll find out if the messengers agree?
I predict that when the feces really does hit the fan, they’ll wind up a lot like what happened to the Catholic Diocese in the film Spotlight.
Particularly when it turned out that the SBC was doing this already, just not sharing the information.
I guess the only way they can get people to do that list on the cheap (or for free!) is when the purpose is to do it in secret to protect their buddies and their narcissistic male superiority racket.
Remember, the SBC used to have up a searchable database of its churches’ pastors (“Minister Search”, right on the SBC website), but they yanked it offline in 2019 when that Houston newspaper reporter was using it to do what the SBC should have been doing all along, and what the SBC is now paying ‘Guidepost Solutions’ so much money, to do very constrained work on.
Directory of SBC churches’ pastors, on the SBC website from 2002 until 2019:
There is an “SBC Church Search” database, but they altered it in 2019 to exclude pastors’ names from the church listing.
Example: CJ Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville
search results from 2015 to mid-2019 includes pastors of the church:
Suddenly in the latter part of 2019, the pastor field was excluded from results of public queries of all SBC churches in the database.
In 2020 a new url was created for the SBC directory of churches: churches.sbc.net
Churches’ pastors’ names continue to be withheld from the listings.
Publicly or donor funded leaders’ names, offenses of public record (so victims, please report to LE first and ASAP), budgets, salaries, pastor planes, etc., should all be transparent to donor participants IOW, the public.
Duh, no brainer. Nonprofits that seek donations should be transparent to potential donors, which is the public at large.
If a person doesn’t want the public eye on what they’re doing, stop publicly seeking funding. Get a job or build a business in the private sector and keep your affairs private.
Neither Jesus nor the disciples operated nonprofit businesses. They accepted room and board when they traveled. That’s all.
The NT church collections were to share wealth to needy church members in areas of economic depression.
Church as a nonprofit business with fulltime salaried staff is not in the NT. The gifts (18) of the Spirit are in the NT, however. No Joel Olsteens or SBCs are found in the NT. Jesus, Peter, and Paul had neither staff nor entourage, nor buildings to do their work.
Seeking God and His ways and means to do God’s work is lost on today’s churches which would be church leaders and church funders, it seems.
“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.” (Aristotle)
The SBC is a non-prophet organization.
In the absence of the genuine, there is plenty of room for the counterfeit.
The SBC was torn apart and rebuilt with and through stealth and deception, intentionally distorted word definitions (code words?), and secrecy.
What else should we expect?
As usual, you give me lots of thoughts. I can. I understand why they don’t want Mahaney’s name mentioned on their website.
Also, they (SBC) better hang onto their money, cuz’ they’re gonna need it when the gavel comes down with a huge payout in a landmark case.
What bothers me the most is that this issue has yet to significantly “trickle down” to the local church. As a former SBC pastor I monitor churches across several states to see what their emphasis is; I’ve only seen one pastor discuss these concerns with any gravity.
It may not matter what happens at the “top” until there is a concern in the pew.
SBC has 47,000+ churches. Most of them have less than 200 members. Many are in rural areas. Very few send messengers to the annual meeting. I would say that less than 10% of SBC churches are represented these days, compared to tens of thousands attending annual meetings in the last century. Thus, very little of what the national entity and big boys do trickles down to millions of Southern Baptists … who are still predominantly non-Calvinist in belief and practice, unaware that the New Calvinists now solidly control SBC and are spending pew-sitter’s hard-earned money like crazy.
After spending 70+ years as a Southern Baptist, I can tell you that what happens at the “top” does not concern the pew in most churches as long as their monthly potlucks and social events aren’t affected. (yep, there was a lot wrong with SBC long before the New Calvinists showed up to finish it off)
You’re talking about my stomping grounds. Most churches have around 100 members …..or less. Many have no clue what’s going on in the SBC (Ha! Unless they watch the nightly news…… then it’s just a blip on the radar.). Pastors and deacons never mention it.
There are some (maybe many)who don’t even know the SBC holds an annual convention meeting.
I know of only two churches in my county that have ever sent messengers to the convention. Leadership has changed at one of those, so I don’t know if they still do.
Potlucks (aka fellowship meals).
Awana, trunk-or-treat, TEAM Kids, Men’s day (There is no women’s day, unless you count Mother’s
Day, which leaves out women who don’t have children)religious, holidays, singings, VBS, revival services, church homecoming services……
Everything I’ve mentioned and then some involve…..you guessed it…….food.
They are scared to, for fear of affecting the bottom line.
Yep, even if it affects ‘their’ “bottom” line 🙂
But they “religiously” send contributions every year to the SBC “Cooperative Program” … unaware how those dollars are being spent. Millions of them would throw a fit if they knew that the New Calvinists were spending $70 million per year to plant churches that don’t preach/teach the same theology they believe in … not to mention “revitalizing” hundreds/thousands of SBC non-Calvinist churches by taking them over by stealth and deception for the glory of the new reformation.
Yeah. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering are really big deals around here. Nobody knows what percentage of that money from those offerings is actually used for it’s original intent; nobody asks. There’s no way to know, anyway. I wonder how many SBCers around here know that a chunk of that money is being diverted into the sex abuse expense account?
Me??? I stopped contributing to those offerings years ago…… when I realized what an ungodly heretic Lottie Moon would be by today’s SBC standards. Lottie Moon is a bad example for the rest of us womenfolk.
Well, Lottie certainly wouldn’t be allowed to preach in American SBC pulpits these days … but the new reformers don’t have any problem taking up an offering in her name!
“Yes, she preached. She preached to girls and women. She preached to men. And when those Chinese men died and went to heaven, the Judge of all things did not ask them if they were convicted under the preaching of a tiny woman in Chinese garb from the American South.”
One reason I resigned from Southern Baptists is because I was tired of Pentecostal/Charismatic worship style and also the Henry Blackaby “Experiencing God” heretical teachings.
Yes. The SBC will continue to fund this. To get it past the initial hurdles, they couldn’t admit that missions money would be used.
But now they’re into it. They’ll just have to use missions money and fund it through the annual offerings.
The Guidepost group IMO is a scam. Their report was just a collection of things already reported. Now Guidepost is going to charge an arm and a leg to build and maintain a database.
Rachael Denhollander decides who gets on the list. In fact, for all intents and purposes she is the de facto leader of the SBC.
The liability to the SBC will come from messing up on the website and database, not random wrongdoing at churches.
“For the first year, IMB and NAMB have graciously agreed to fund the sexual abuse reform …”
Like it was ‘their’ money to spend! Pew-sitting Southern Baptists across 47,000+ churches send hard-earned dollars each year to support home and foreign missions, not sexual abuse reform! SBC should have redirected other revenue streams, rather than funds designated for mission programs. This won’t play well in small-town America with the pulpit or pew, which have funding drives each year to rally support for missions. On the other hand, I would rather see these dollars used this way than planting more reformed churches (theology contrary to the mainline belief and practice of millions of Southern Baptists). SBC’s deep-pockets will get more shallow as the magnitude of sex abuse in the denomination becomes more widely known.
The way IMB and NAMB “came up with the money” was unusual to say the least.
When it became known money was needed, the leader of the IMB just said “Hey, we’ve got this money in Send Relief.” That money had been donated by people for disaster relief. He offered that money without a Trustee meeting or anything. Like it was his own private bank account.
So many twists and turns to doing church. Always a new new thing to attract and distract.
Meanwhile, in every one of these brandings new and different, clergy sexual abuse reigns on. No changes there. They all dance around or skirt the issue.
To address vice?
Actually, power and money create a culture friendly to vice. The trifecta. These three always travel together.
Satan approached Jesus three ways. Any one of the three is an inroad to the trifecta.
And how many send in their Social Security checks so Kenneth Copeland can buy a THIRD private jet?
“There’s a Sucker born every minute.”
In the Christianese Bubble, make that every second.
“The Spice must flow.” — Dune
Max, do you remember how Jacob got the Birthright instead of Esau?
The only reason for the existence of Lowborn Serfs is the Enrichment and Convenience of their Highborn Betters.
The Great Chain of Being.
“[Re: SBC] … planting more reformed churches (theology contrary to the mainline belief and practice of millions of Southern Baptists),” from Oracle’s comment above (also “Headless…” and Max), I wish more S. Baptists (my original tribe but no longer) realized how insidious, cruel and anti-gospel are these “new reformed” churches beneath their rhetoric for leadership glory and profit.
We as followers of Jesus should not blithely assume that reformed/Calvinists are worshipping the same God we love and honor. They instead, even though they attempt to downplay import and masterfully twist biblical verses to their own purposes, are still following in John Calvin’s vindictive, hateful, murderous projection of his own evil onto a demonic version of deity Calvin claimed predestines human beings, regardless of their character or choice, to either salvation or damnation (eternal hell) before they are even born.
My S. Baptist grandma from Plains, GA lived next door to the church, kept it going for free and retained the key (as preachers came and went). She would never have believed the SBC would come to this. Even today I regret every monetary and time offering my family made to that now-corrupted and seemingly irredeemable SBC.
The SBC’s modern male “headship” doctrines (reflecting “new” reformed/Calvinist influence of profiteering scandalous preachers like John MacArthur) are just as abhorrent and antithetical to Jesus who selected a Samaritan woman from a well to be the first evangelist of the true life in Jesus, source for all believers equally of living waters and spiritual gifts. (See John’s biblical gospel.)
Come out of institutional corruption and leave the SBC (and all Calvinism), people of God!
OT: Dee have you heard of this Corey Mahler who wants to turn the LCMS into the not-see church?
And just to note that it keeps on going on. Just in a quick search for only the last year, I found the following:
* Camden, NJ, diocese settled for $87.5 million (4/22)
* Archdiocese of Santa Fe settled for $121.5 million (12/22)
* Rochester, NY, diocese (bankrupt) settled for $55 million (11/22)
But there are new lawsuits being filed, such as one for the San Diego diocese, which is alleged to have transferred hundreds of properties in 2019 to lessen any potential payments to plaintiffs. (Lawsuit filed February 2023.)
It’s constant, it’s ongoing and seriously, it’s the kind of thing that makes me wish Jesus would come back and clean house.
Could you send me a link? I don’t know about this.
OK-now I know. This is what the LCMS President spoke out against. White nationalism!
What would those be? This name is new to me.
Rolling Stones article on the LCMS. Corey Mahler, who claims to be a monarchist and wants a white ethno-state, versus President Matt Harrison (and others) of the LCMS for the soul of the church
I had no idea (nor would I have ever guessed) that this kind of rabid craziness has infiltrated the LCMS.
I wonder what would have happened to him when I was a kid and went to church (Lutheran) with men who survived places like Anzio and Bastogne?
But thank goodness that the LCMS leadership did the right thing and repudiated Mahler’s shtick with a public statement.
Note that Mahler seemed to have infiltrated himself into a position as webmaster for at least one major LCMS connected website. His work got glowing reviews from Gene Veith over at patheos https://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2021/01/the-redesigned-book-of-concord-site/ He also seems to have aimed at young men probably without much knowledge of history.
I find the LCMS far too conservative for my taste; however, they have done the right thing here. I note that Lutherans may be particularly vulnerable since Luther did write some very antisemitic works in the latter part of his life (perhaps from disappointment that they did not see the ‘truth’ of Luther’s reformed version of the Christian faith and convert).
Experiencing God was a very popular book in the 90s among SB, heavily promoted by Lifeway and NAMB. It extracts a pattern out of Moses’s experience and sold it as truth. I was young in my Xtian journey and when through the program in a small local church in Canada.
From the introduction to the notorious 1543 publication -“ Already upon its first appearance in the year 1543, Luther’s treatise caused widespread dismay, not only among contemporary Jews but also in Protestant circles. Melanchthon and Osiander are known to have been unhappy with its severity. Henry Bullinger, in correspondence with Martin Bucer, remarked that Luther’s views reminded him of those of the Inquisitors. And a subsequent document prepared by the churches of Zurich declared (speaking specifically of the treatise Vom Schem Hamphoras, published later in 1543), that “if it had been written by a swineherd, rather than by a celebrated shepherd of souls, it might have some—but very little—justification.”
The introduction also offers evidence that his views hadn’t really changed. His lectures on the Psalms (1513-1515) contain the essence of what he later wrote. From Volume 47 of his Works.
First time I’ve heard Blackaby’s teachings referred to as heresy. I found “Experiencing God” closer to the truth than you get in a lot of church Bible studies.
I Timothy 1:16 makes it clear Apostle Paul is supposed to be our pattern, not Moses. The grave error in Blackaby’s book is (1) mysticism and (2) using God’s dealings with Old Testament Israel as a pattern for the Body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 3, Colossians chapter 2 make it clear God started something brand new when Jesus appeared to Paul in Acts chapter 9. Mid Acts Pauline dispensationalism is the key to understanding the Bible. Calvinism, Pentecostal/Charismatics, Blackaby are no help.
Thank you too, Max.
Heresy is a serious topic, but the term also gets tossed around to discredit people and ideas. I don’t know what the objection might have been.
I would argue that Luther’s anti-semitism added gasoline to the fire of the Holocaust.
And PASTOR Nick Fuentes (and probably others) still carries that torch.
As a Goy who used to constantly get mistaken for Jewish in my younger days, I keep an ear to the ground about the subject.
Funny, I thought Jesus of Nazareth is sposeta’ be our ‘pattern’…
I guess the New Calvinists figure “Paul-likeness” is an easier target to shoot for than “Christ-likeness.”