In 2007, I proposed a motion to the annual Southern Baptist Convention to establish a sexual predator database – and make it public – to track “SBC pastors and staff members who have been credibly accused of, confessed to, or convicted of sexually predatory behavior.” My goal was to prevent guilty SBC ministers from transferring to another church or denomination to only re-offend.
My motion failed. TIME magazine listed the SBC Executive Committee’s denial of my motion as “one of the top 10 most underreported stories.”
However, 15 years later, there is a great deal of reporting nationwide about the million-dollar investigative report from Guidestone Solutions regarding the predatory abuse of SBC pastors and staff members from 2000 to 2021. The 400-page report was released yesterday, and several media outlets (AP, CBS, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.) have reached out for my reaction.
The best and most balanced reporting of the release of the SBC investigative report is from Carla Hinton. She is the Religion Editor for The Oklahoman and USA Today. Carla was the only reporter at the Southern Baptist Convention when I made the motion to establish a database to track sexual predators. After making it, I turned around and saw Carla Hinton standing behind me. She said, “Wow. Your motion sounds like a huge deal.”
Carla was correct in 2007. It WAS a huge deal. The worst tyranny is the encroachment of the powerful on the powerless. Sexual predatory behavior is criminal, and Christians should seek to stop it.
Now that the report has come out, I’ll give you my five reflections on it:
- The SBC has made progress on this issue. Progress is sometimes painful, but the SBC is a better Convention than 15 years ago.
- New leadership runs the SBC. The leaders who opposed my motion in 2007 are all gone. A new administration is in place.
- Don’t throw out the entire barrel of good apples (the SBC) over a few bad apples (predatory pastors). The SBC accomplishes many great things (missions, Disaster Relief, evangelism, etc.) worldwide. Don’t turn your back on the SBC because of poor leadership in the past.
- Christianity is never about power. A faithful follower of Jesus revolts at taking advantage of another human being.
- There’s a difference between correcting problems within and destroying a Convention from without. I am longer an SBC pastor. I receive no salary from the SBC. What I say next has no personal bearing on me. For fifteen years, I sought to reform the SBC from the inside. That reform has now come. I will not align with those who seek to destroy the SBC from the outside.
May God bring mercy and healing to the victims of predatory sexual behavior.
In His Grace,
The right thing is never wrong and the wrong thing is never right. The truth is never about upholding an image.
Amen to all. I know that all this new attempt at openness and accountability came from your blogging and then from your continued public calls for reform. I am thankful for you and pray God will give you victory in this election.
The SBC is about leaders and followers. But I never did think about that in the negative sense. One leader covers up ugliness and others may follow their shameful rationalizations to excuse such behavior.
The reactions to your 2007 Motion demonstrate that. Fix that and we might once again have an SBC we can be proud of.
I agree with your stance on this subject from the beginning and admire you for standing up for your beliefs before the SBC. The “right thing to do” is finally being done. The SBC (and any other organization) should NEVER protect anyone abusing another human being…PERIOD!!! The “secret list of abusers” needs to be made public, thereby allowing families the ability to protect their loved ones from such abuser(s). JMO…
Wade, thank you for speaking up for the victims of abuse when you were in the ministry. I know it cost you then.
That ‘standing up’ for them is a permanent mark of good character. You can be proud that you were there for them then. God bless!
Wade is a smart guy. Wrote a book on “hardball religion”. Worked the security detail for the entourage of Paige Patterson and has been up to his eyeballs as an SBC insider prior to becoming an outsider. Strikes me as curious that he of all people does not address the shoddy nature of this report with its many glaring omissions to the extent it smacks of opposition research for politically motivated SBC insiders in lieu of the upcoming annual circus. Many of us will not be lamenting in sackcloth and ashes over that nor are we shocked by the pervasiveness of human sin nature, often rearing it’s ugly head in our midst. We will not bow to the cult of Christa Brown nor will we be instructed, chastened, or corrected by a parachurch co-op to which we may or may not send money. We have no creed but Scripture.
Mr. Shaver, shooting the messenger has proven a failed response for the SBC–not to mention a fallen one–so doubling down on that approach only serves to hurt more people and tarnish the good news in America. The absence of shock over sin is no excuse for the absence of lament in the face of such suffering. It is occasion for genuine repentance rather than smugness. Kyrie eleison.
I am shocked that adult Christian people are shocked by both the reality of the human sin nature as well as the pervasive destructive power of sin. What have you been using your bibles for all these years? Coffee tables? The emotional approach does not phase me.
And I do not repent of sin or crimes I did not commit. Also unbiblical IMO. Group think and guilt by association are the errands of fools.
Not in the habit of lamenting and repenting in a small collective of folks obsessed with abuse theatre. See no biblical precedent for cheapening the concept of repentance for religio-political agendas.
Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden’s diary tells as a teenager of taking showers with her father which may have caused her to live a life of sex and drugs.