The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention is set to consider revising its constitutional amendment related to sex abuse, and may create a new committee to examine misconduct claims against churches.
In addition to sexual misconduct, the amendment revision will also address how churches deal with racism in their ranks.
According to Baptist Press, a denominational bylaws working group drafted proposed changes to the existing document, receiving contributions from and which were reviewed by current SBC president J.D. Greear, Executive Committee president Ronnie Floyd, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, and Rachael Denhollander, who led the charge against USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and is an ardent voice for sexual abuse victims within evangelical churches.
“Over the last year,” Greear said, “it has become clear the SBC needs a clearer process for responding to abuse, as well as qualified individuals speaking into the process who ensure that we are a convention of churches who adhere to the legal standards of reporting abuse.
“This standing credentials committee is an important step in that direction,” the SBC president and pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, told the outlet.
“This committee would be charged with handling any issues that may arise as to whether a church is in cooperation with the SBC, including (but not limited to) complaints of sexual abuse.”
He added that the committee ought to ask about whether a congregation has cooperated with authorities and met pastoral obligations per the standards set forth in Scripture, specifically Romans 13 and Matthew 18.
“The Southern Baptist Convention must get this right,” said Floyd, who recently left his pastoral role at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas to lead the Executive Committee.
“Unquestionably, we must make a clear, compassionate, convictional, and compelling statement about this issue in every way we can. Every church must be a safe zone for our children,” he continued, noting that Greear has made addressing sexual misconduct “a defining issue” during his term as SBC president.
The revision will be recommended before messengers in attendance at the denomination’s annual meeting, which will take place next week in Birmingham, Alabama.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter