Good morning TRC and friends!
I want to provide for you the Guidepost report on the cover up of sexaul abuse in SBC churches by the Executive Committee.
You can read the report for yourself at the above link.
We are proud to be Southern Baptist (SBC). Local church autonomy. Doctrinal fidelity with room for disagreement in application is a hallmark of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Cooperation in mission through the IMB and NAMB is huge for powerful effect. Our six SBC seminaries are global flagships for scholarship and faithfulness and ministry preparation. We have folks in our church who are graduates of I believe 4 of our 6 seminaries.
This good is worth our staying and working to solve the problems. This is why we go to the convention, take our number of allotted messengers, and do our part.
The bad apples in this report do not represent all of us who are Southern Baptist. The desire and attempt to allow men who abused or assaulted or had adulterous relationships to keep their “stuff” under wraps is not shared by all of us who are SBC. Oh, and it’s not just men doing the evil stuff. There are also men who have been wronged in this too.
The audacity for the majority of those wanting to keep things covered up to use the diversion of “women should not be allowed to preach” on a Mother’s Day in a church service or “women should not be allowed to teach in a room that has a mixed audience of men and women” or “CRT” while allowing themselves and their buddies to be involved in this kind of adulterous abuse and darkness is maddening.
Are there legitimate and debatable issues we need to have some dialogue about? You bet. But to marginalize people who find themselves on the opposite side of the issue by calling them “Marxist” or “liberal” or “woke” while being ok with “inappropriate relationships” just about makes the top of my head blow off.
Let me just say it, the language of “inappropriate relationships” and “affairs” is one of the ways we’ve made such activity so easy. The report even uses the language. It’s not the only thing. It’s one thing. However, it matters the language we choose. The Bible never uses that language regarding the activity cataloged. God calls it “adultery”. It’s abuse. It’s sin. And it all revolves in and around adultery.
We don’t use the state or federal government’s definition of adultery. We use God’s definition.
God’s definition is rooted in Genesis 1 and 2. One man. One woman. Together. No outside spending of physical, emotional, or mental effort on anyone else that takes away from our covenant marriage at all. Ever. God is the only other person who is intimately involved in that relationship. Period. End of story. Zip. You may think that overly strict. I’d say that is God’s intent in Genesis at creation.
Oh, by the way, men can’t just be platonic buddies with girls. Even the folks not in the faith know this, and speak to it, and it’s just so easy to have lax boundaries, call it grace, and then wonder why folks get themselves in a mess.
This is why Jesus tells us in the sermon on the mount that our standard of righteousness has to be better than the Pharisees who play the teenage game of “how far is too far”. Their standard was the physical act. Lust all you want. Look all you want, just don’t do that part.
Jesus took us back to creation and said that the wandering eye is the act not just the “how far is too far” game. Same with murder. Same with that whole catalog of issues he addresses in the Sermon on the Mount.
People want to play sophomoric games with Jesus’ words. He simply means what he said going all the way back to his creation in Genesis. One man. One woman. No outside anything from anyone. Ever. Period.
We are not talking about having friends. It does mean that friends have to have some boundaries or all “you know what” will break loose. We all know this, and yet it’s so easy for some to want to fight against it with “what about” games. We know it’s clear. We just want to justify our own behavior.
That’s why it’s serious. If you find your eye offending the standard, then dadgummit, pluck it out. Not literally, but metaphorically, deal severely with anything that threatens the life giving standard of created joy and and eternal life. That’s not legalism. That’s pursing what gives life.
Demanding our kids eat is not legalism. It’s making sure they survive.
Demanding that we hold to God’s sexual ethic is not legalism. It’s making sure we survive.
We have allowed a world standard to creep into our language, and we call adultery “affairs” and “inappropriate relationships”. No. It’s adultery, and the SBC has allowed it from it’s superstars because they are considered not expendable and dealing with sin would disrupt the ministry. Hogwash.
Well, God says it best:
1 Peter 4:17 (ESV) 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
God simply will not let that happen. He’s called it to account, and it’s good.
Where do we go from here?
- 10-1 God calls for character over skill. See 1 Timothy 3 and the qualifications for leadership.
- We have to begin valuing character over magnetic personality, leadership ability, speaking ability, etc.
- Are they righteous? Are they willing to be accountable? Can they let others have the spotlight?
- We can’t let aberrant sexual ethics go unchecked. We MUST hold to God’s standard.
- There are things that disqualify from ministry positions and influence.
- There is forgiveness, but forgiveness does not equal restoration to the position of leadership.
- We have to stop assuming outside definitions of “grace” onto God.
- Grace is God’s power to his people, and power to forgive is not the same as willingness to elevate to a previous role.
- We can’t swing the pendulum to being legalistic on all things, but we must have a higher sexual ethic, and we have to stop calling God’s standard “legalism”. Me included.
- Porn and libertine relational boundaries need to die and fast death in the lives of Saints.
- We can’t let people do damage without calling it out and protecting the rest of the fellowship.
- Is this costly? Yes. Is there a price to pay? Yes. Will we be liked by all? No.
- Will it honor the name of Jesus? YES!
- Will it keep our names out of reports like this? YES!
I’m sure I’ve not done it justice, but this is enough for now.
Read the report if you want. I am.
We have not, and will not be like this, and we will work with our fellow churches to see order and right is done.