Regarding the Sothern Baptist Convention (SBC) Guidepost Investigation:
Some of you have heard an investigation was conducted by Guidepost into the SBC’s handling of abuse allegations. First, we would like to say that our hearts break over the stories of abuse allegations and potential cover ups in the Guidepost SBC investigation. We would like to address this in the areas as related to Jurisdictional Authority, Church and Convention relationship, and our church process.
First, in relation to God ordained jurisdiction or jurisdictional authority. The Bible clearly describes three institutions carrying jurisdictional authority: the Family, the Church, and the Government. The family was God’s first institutional authority, designed to carry the rod for discipline and raising the next generation in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The Church’s jurisdictional authority is in place to direct sinners to God’s kingdom through Jesus Christ and to influence both the government and the family with God’s truth as laid out in Scripture. The Government’s jurisdictional authority, according to Romans 13, is to bear the sword, to punish evil doers and to ensure that people live peaceably.
Therefore, scripture clearly demonstrates that when a crime has been disclosed, it must be brought to the state for investigation. It is not the initial role of the church to determine if the report should go to the state, unless it is clear that the Government has overstepped its authority and moved into the authority of the church.
In cases of abuse, the church’s role is to protect and support the victim and their families while taking precautions to remove any accused abusers from their position until the investigation is completed. It is also the role of the church to be involved, as appropriate, to see that justice is done.
Next, as it relates to the relationship between the SBC and Crittenden Baptist Church, Crittenden Baptist is an independent church that holds all authority in the local church without direction of the SBC. The SBC is a convention of independent churches that combine their resources for specific purposes, i.e., missions, education, pastoral support, etc., to benefit SBC churches. No agreement is made within the convention that provides the convention a hierarchical authority over the independent church. Crittenden Baptist or the SBC could choose to disassociate with one another at any time.
Therefore, the results of the investigation, while informative, does not have a direct link to Crittenden Baptist, but heightens our awareness of the sin in and around us. Again, we grieve that any abuse has happened with in the greater body of Christ, and we pray that God’s grace, mercy, and truth prevail. It is our heart to take the proper actions to ensure that abuse will be avoided and that it is handled correctly in the unforeseen case that it does occur.
Finally, it is our goal as a church to ensure a safe place for victims of abuse. We have a team of certified trainers in our church who regularly conduct abuse awareness training. In addition, all our staff and volunteers undergo a background check prior to serving with children. We are continually investigating and instituting additional security measures for the safety of our children.
In the event of an abuse accusation, we are committed to handling this in a Godly manner. We are aware of potential false accusations, while also exist in a system that is innocent until proven guilty, so we want to protect the reputations of both parties. Proverbs 18:17 says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (ESV)
Therefore, steps will be taken to report any incident to the proper authorities for investigation. In addition, care, compassion, and protection, as is legal, will be provided to the victim and their families, while also dealing biblically with the matters of sin committed by the abuser. We will provide continual cooperation with authorities and will advocate for a just outcome.
It is always our role as a church to exemplify and follow Christ in matters of life. We are to extend the love of Christ by his example.
More information will be provided as this issue is discussed at the annual convention in Anaheim.