A Word on the SBC and the Guidepost Independent Sexual Abuse Report

We have had much reason to grieve in the last few weeks: the mass killing in Buffalo, NY, the mass killing of little children and teachers in Uvalde, TX, and within this past week, the release of the Guideposts report on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

I am sure those of you who have read the report or heard about it are grieved. If you have not read the report, you may access it here. You may access a helpful summary and FAQ about the report here. We, the elders, are also grieved by this report. In our meeting, Thursday, we agreed that it merited a response from us:
  • We should mourn over sin – both personal and corporate (James 4:7-9). May we be marked as a people who are quick to confess and repent of our sin (Psalm 32).
  • We do mourn over the news of sexual sin (abuse) in the SBC. Even just one occurrence of sexual abuse in any context is one too many. We long for the day when Christ will return, and sin will be no more. Until that day, may the Lord protect us from the evil one.
  • The report outlines several areas Guidepost Solutions was asked to investigate:
    1. Allegations of Abuse by Executive Committee Staff and Members
    2. Mishandling of Abuse Allegations and Mistreatment of Victims
    3. Pattern of Intimidation of Victims or Advocates
    4. Resistance to Sexual Abuse Reform Initiatives
      • We lament that, in too many cases, when victims sought the help of pastors, church leaders, or SBC leadership, the primary instinct was to control the potential damage and preserve reputations.
      • May the Lord grant us the grace and courage to report sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities as required by law, rather than pursuing self-preservation and damage control.  
  • It is important to know that WE, the churches of the SBC, have the authority to hold SBC entities accountable.
    • Our polity worked – the messengers demanded a third-party investigation.
    • And as much as the EC sought to stop it, they were unable.
    • We lament that it took the messengers of the SBC to demand the EC do the right thing instead of the EC doing what is right on their own.
    • May the Lord grant us the grace and courage to welcome and, even, initiate objective parties to investigate allegations of sexual abuse.
  • As sad as the report is, it represents a much-needed change of course and accountability.
    • This is why it is so important that we send messengers to the SBC AM.
    • On Thursday, the elders agreed to begin adding more money in the budget to help send more messengers each year.
    • Based on our Cooperative Program giving to the SBC, we are entitled to ten messengers.
    • This year we are only sending three.
    • May the Lord grant us the grace to be generous in our giving so that we may increase our budget to help send the maximum number of messengers to the SBC annual meeting.

  • The elders also want you to know that a number of years ago we established policies to protect our children and youth from sexual abuse and our volunteers from false accusations of sexual abuse.
    • We thank all of you who serve our children and youth at High Pointe.
    • We lament that we must have such policies, but we are thankful for our workers who abide by these policies for the safety of our children.
    • We ask you all to help us maintain these policies.

Moving Forward – Where do we go from here?

Let us lament sexual sin and sexual abuse. A lament is a form of prayer. We see examples of laments in the Psalms: ex. Psalm 13, 42, 43.
  • Laments often begin by turning to God – in trust.
  • Then, the psalmist brings his complaints before God.
  • Then, the psalmist asks God for help – often boldly so.
  • Finally, the psalmist chooses to trust in God, regardless of circumstances.

Let us pray for victims of sexual sin and sexual abuse – that the Lord would bring justice and healing, and when justice is not immediately possible, that the Lord would grant them the grace to entrust themselves to the God who judges justly that they may be delivered from bitterness and vengeance.

And, again, let us continually pray that our Lord would protect us from the evil one and from his schemes to attack High Pointe through those who would give in to the temptation to sexual sin and seek to take advantage of our children and youth and women in the church.

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