Dear Missouri Baptists,
During the March 7- 8 Excutive Board meeting the Board created the Sexual Abuse Response Team “to review and recommend MBC responses and action steps to take after receipt of the report of the SBC Sex Abuse Task Force (SATF)…”. We wanted to take a moment to respond to this report as well as offer you some encouragement, wisdom, and counsel.
Doubtlessly, many of you have seen in various news outlets that the SATF has released the report from the independent investigation by Guidepost Solutions. Last June, the messengers to the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention who gathered in Nashville, TN authorized a third-party investigation into the Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse allegations since 2000.
The findings of that investigation were released Sunday and have been in headline news since. Our team has individually reviewed, and will continue to review, the report. In light of its findings, we feel compelled to say the following:
- We were sickened by the details we read in the report.
- The third-party investigation was judiciously carried out and we have every reason to believe its findings are accurate.
- We grieve the abuse perpetrated by men, churches, and convention entities who should have been trusted and lament the shame they brought on the cause of Christ in the world.
We want to be clear. This report reveals an ongoing pattern of sin, idolatrous use of power, and callousness toward the abused. The report made several recommendations for institutional change and cultural repentance. We are grateful for those leaders and staff members whom the report revealed were serving faithfully throughout different levels of our denomination.
In this time of shock and grief, we offer you two counsels that are prayerfully given and biblically sourced. First, this is a time for prayer, for the abused, for justice, for lamentation and repentance of the perpetrators and our denomination. Second, we urge you to consider careful and wise responses in this season and that we approach this with a spirit of humility and lamentation.
We want to engage our denomination as bringers of change. We pray that in Anaheim our advocacy and action as cooperating churches will foster a new spirit of justice, righteousness, and compassion for our fellow Southern Baptists as we continue our gospel mission.
One of the best ways for your church to make clear your desire for change is to join us at the annual convention in Anaheim, CA (June 12-15). We are encouraged by those concerned with our integrity on these issues and we hope that we can be a part of that change in church culture. We can do that by loving one another well, and walking with integrity and grace in our own circumstances. We are hopeful that the future of the SBC can and will be different.
Missouri Baptist Convention Sexaul Abuse Response Team
- Pastor Jon C. Nelson — Soma Community Church, Missouri Baptist Convention President
- Heather Kuenzle — First Baptist Church New London
- Pastor Mike Leake — Calvary of Neosho
- Pastor George H. Fulgham Jr. — Spiritual Life Director, MBCH Children & Family Ministries
- V. Lynn Bristol — First Baptist Church Warsaw