Charleston, S.C. | Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear will speak to the SBC Executive Committee Feb. 18 on the progress of a study group tasked with exploring how the denomination has handled sexual abuse.
Greear’s presentation at the Executive Committee’s meeting was scheduled prior to a three-part report in the Houston Chronicle on hundreds of cases of abuse involving Southern Baptist ministers and volunteer workers. The report included a database of 218 Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, employees, and volunteers who have pleaded guilty or were convicted of sex crimes over the past 20 years.
Last summer, Greear announced the formation of a Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group of outside experts and Southern Baptist leaders to advise him on “issues related to sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and related subjects.” The Southern Baptist Executive Committee voted last year to give the first $250,000 overage for the 2017-2018 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
At a meeting with the editors of Southern Baptist state papers this week, Greear didn’t elaborate on the SBC study group’s progress, but was clear that now is a time for Baptists to “lament and grieve.”
“I do not believe you can in any way push this aside as an agenda-driven thing put out by the secular media to try to destroy us,” Greear said of the Chronicle report. Now is not the time for sermonizing, virtue-signaling, or posturing, Greear said, but a time to recognize the problem and demonstrate humility.
“The safety of victims is more important than the reputation of Southern Baptists.”