A report on the Thursday session of ERLC's conference on sexual abuse in the church

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Mark_Smith's picture

The thing I am uncomfortable with, which has appeared all over the place since the sexual assault issue has come to front and center, is the notion of "we" in SBC church behavior. Southern Baptists come together in common belief to evangelize and to cooperate together to form seminaries and to do missions. That is the extent of the cooperation. I have no control over what any other SBC church does or does not do.

I realize "the world" sees the SBC as one large church entity, but really, we are independent.

So, when someone was assaulted in another church, of course I feel bad, etc., but am I at fault? Is there collective guilt? Did I fail in some way? Do I need to repent? The assumption of this conference is YES.

What do you think?


Jay's picture

So, when someone was assaulted in another church, of course I feel bad, etc., but am I at fault? Is there collective guilt? Did I fail in some way? Do I need to repent? The assumption of this conference is YES.

When I read this stuff and watch the videos, I take "we" as a global we, not as a specific entity or organization.  All Baptists can report abuse, discipline members, and utilize good policy/procedures.  I have a copy of the Caring Well book, and it's quite good.  

That being said, ERLC is leading the conference as an SBC entity so I think they are speaking to all members and encouraging them to do better, not necessarily to blame every specific member for their corporate failings.

The Caring Well Conference (from what I have read and seen) was fantastic and the sessions will be available for download soon. I'd recommend it to everyone.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

With all due respect, I think you need to actually listen to the sessions. There is a palpable sense among a certain segment of the group promoting this movement that there is collective guilt due to a massive coverup among the leadership and mass ignorance and indifference. People repeatedly "asked for forgiveness" both while speaking and while praying.

For example, the new communications director for the SBC recently asked forgiveness for the Baptist Press's reporting on a certain sexual assault survivor's situation. This came up because Rachel Denhollander I believe specifically called out the BP's reporting in her talk.

There is definitely a thought among some that the entire convention is to blame.


Joeb's picture

Mark I think that the SBC and rest of Evangelical America don’t speak up enough about the Bad Actors and totally condemn them repeatedly.  Let’s face it that is not happening as much as it should.  

When you have Cedarville University cuddling up to the worst bad actor in American Evangelical Christianity being Ethnos 360 AKA: New Tribes Missions and doing business with them. Plus these bad Actors continue to sheild male sex perps they protected from prosecution.   What do you expect the survivors  to think.  Especially when some these perps are back in pulpits.   There is a little corporate responsibility on all are parts.

    Speaking of Cedarville the current President was and is a Best Buddy of Paige Patterson who was on the board at Cedarville.  The first thing that popped up in my mind is what did this new President know about Paige and his buddies protecting Gilyard as he raped his way through four churches and was he even an aider and abettor before coming to Cedarville.  Especially  if the Cedarville President was instrumental in putting Paige on the board.  The lawsuit is going on now against Paige and has allegedly raised evidence of recorded meetings of Paige and his buddies discussing how to take care of Gilyard.  

My above statement is purely supposition although my brother a Former SBC Patterson  has informed me Paige Patterson was a very controversial  and questionable before all the bad info came out.  So why would anyone in their right mind place Paige Patterson on Cedarville’s board.  Again another move that abuse victims in the SBC would corporately take as they just don’t give a dam about us.   

Now the above Mark is not against you personally.   I’d say Sharper Iron is certainly a strong advocate against the Bad Actors.  I think Rachel Dehollander would approve.  

The conference itself sounds like it moved in the right direction for the SBC.  It sounds like they had some very good speakers and people to come up with ideas to avoid past mistakes. 

Now that it is clear that the “PROBLEM” is throughout all Evangelicalism not just in the Fundy Baptist realm it’s good to see conferences like this happening.  As I said before I think the Independent Fundamental Baptists Churches and associated Institutions are ahead of the curve on this problem then the rest of Evangelical America and the SBC.