GARBC Conference passes "Resolution on Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse"

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Resolution on Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

The messengers of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, meeting together in regular conference June 27—July 1, 2011, in Denver, Colorado,

Believing that the Bible stresses the sanctity of human life (Gen 1:27) and the marriage bed, and that it condemns all forms of sexual promiscuity (Heb 13:4),

Affirming that the Bible also stresses the protection of and care for children, as evidenced by (1) commands to not provoke children to wrath, but to bring children up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1–4); (2) exhortations to love children (Titus 2:4); (3) the Old and New Testament regard for orphans (Deut. 24:17–21; 26:12, 13; James 1:27); (4) the condemnation of the ancient pagan practice of child sacrifice (Lev. 20:1–7; Ezek. 16:20, 21); (5) the teaching of Scripture that children are considered a heritage from the Lord and a reward (Ps. 127:3); (6) and the model of Jesus, Who welcomed and valued little children (Matt. 18:1–5; 19:14),

Respecting the laws of the land and governmental authorities, for government can act as God’s servant for good and can bring wrath upon the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:1–4),

Distressed by a seeming rise in physical and sexual crimes against children, reaching alarming levels in our nation, and disturbed that this abuse has occurred too often in churches and homes and at the hands of family, educators, ordained ministers, and ministry workers, we

Call upon the churches of the GARBC, pastors, and people to submit to God’s standards and to practice ministry with complete integrity; to encourage religious bodies to rid their ranks of predatory ministers; to encourage civil authorities to punish to the fullest extent of the law sexual abuse among clergy; to discipline those guilty of any sexual abuse and to cooperate with civil authorities in the prosecution of those cases; and to offer support, compassion, and Biblical counseling to victims and their families,

Express a deep level of moral outrage and concern at any instance of child victimization, deploring the cover-up, ignoring, or passive condoning of abuse by any individual, church, or religious body, and urge them to change the course of their actions,

Recommend that churches have in place an effective abuse prevention policy and respond to any suspicions or allegations of child abuse in a timely and forthright manner, never retaliating against the victim,

Appeal to churches and agencies to exercise moral stewardship in the their employment practices, exercising due diligence to check the backgrounds of ministers, employees, and volunteers,

Pray for righteousness to prevail in our churches and ministries, for the repentance of the victimizer, for the healing of victims of sexual abuse plagued by possible emotional, physical, or spiritual wounds, and for the church of Jesus Christ, that it would be found “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

Resolution on Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

We might be posting the entire resolution here shortly.

Edit: as you can see, it's there now.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Jim Barnes's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
What the FBFI could have done

But instead:

I agree 100%. Congratulations to the messengers at the GARBC annual conference for approving a well written resolution.

Matthew Richards's picture

Great to see this. I pray that it changes how some churches/pastors treat sexual sin within their congregations.

Matthew

Rob Fall's picture

is the two groups are organized differently. The GARBC is much more tightly organized. The FBFI is a much looser organization wit a longer lead time in its resolution process.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

rogercarlson's picture

Rob,

While they are organized different, the FBF still had ample time to do so if they wanted. After Willis was arrested, they were still planning on having the national meeting in Concord. When they changed the venue, there was time to write a resolution. I am on a committee writing a similar one. We have less time, but because of email and phone, we should have no problem drafting one.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

CLeavell's picture

I'm here at the conference in Denver and was pleased to see this resolution passed. I also appreciate the humility and sober-mindedness in which the subject was discussed.

BryanBice's picture

I'll echo Roger's comments and add that it really depends on the issue involved.

I recall that several years ago--probably 1989??--a certain FBF leader had spoken at Pensacola on the subject of music, and the PCC administration didn't approve of what he had to say. He was asked not to say anything that would be critical of or contradict PCC's music policy in his next day's presentation. So, when said FBF leader reported his treatment to fellow FBF leaders, by the next annual meeting (only a few months later), the leadership presented a "resolution" (may have been a "letter of protest"--been a long time & the memory's a little fuzzy) addressed to PCC, protesting their colleague's treatment. After the resolution was read, Frank Bumpus took a clipboard from person to person, expecting each to sign his name in agreement to the resolution.

[To clarify, this action may have been a "sub-action" related to the "Resolution Regarding Music" in 1989. In the FBFI Resolutions Archive, nothing is said about it. Of course, the omission may be because several guys got a tad peeved for feeling coerced into signing something they didn't want to sign...and still others didn't sign it at all, despite Frank Bumpus's arm-twisting ].

The point is simply that if the leadership believes a current issue is important, they can muster a meaningful resolution pretty quickly.

Dave Doran's picture

Bryan,

I believe the situation to which you are referring was actually at the Mid-America Baptist Fellowship meeting in October of 1991. At that time, this meeting was not technically a FBF meeting, but there was a very close relationship between the two groups due to some shared leadership. The resolution to which you refer was not the product of a committee, but really was an ad hoc product that I think most, in hindsight, believed was done so quickly that it was not wise--the event to which it responded happened less than a week before the resolution. How that resolution was handled should not be considered a template for useful resolutions. Lots of things seem good at the time that look worse on later reflection.

FWIW, I was at the meeting and do not recall Frank Bumpus doing anything with a clipboard and signatures. The resolution was read and a voice vote was taken. Perhaps something happened beyond what I witnessed in the public meeting.

I am grateful that the GARBC has done this. I think this was a better resolution than the one being proposed to the FBFI. The GARBC also has the advantage of being a church association where real leverage can be applied to implement policies and practices.

DMD

BryanBice's picture

Dave Doran wrote:
Bryan,

I believe the situation to which you are referring was actually at the Mid-America Baptist Fellowship meeting in October of 1991. At that time, this meeting was not technically a FBF meeting, but there was a very close relationship between the two groups due to some shared leadership. The resolution to which you refer was not the product of a committee, but really was an ad hoc product that I think most, in hindsight, believed was done so quickly that it was not wise--the event to which it responded happened less than a week before the resolution. How that resolution was handled should not be considered a template for useful resolutions. Lots of things seem good at the time that look worse on later reflection.

FWIW, I was at the meeting and do not recall Frank Bumpus doing anything with a clipboard and signatures. The resolution was read and a voice vote was taken. Perhaps something happened beyond what I witnessed in the public meeting.

Thanks for the corrections and clarification, Dave. I myself was not at the meeting, but a good pastor-friend was, and he shared with me his discomfort over the clipboard incident. Indeed, he was one who refused to sign, much to the chagrin of Dr. Bumpus! I concur that the overall approach wasn't wise, that the haste with which action was taken proved to be a mistake. I also agree that it is a lousy "template for useful resolutions."

Nevertheless, if the issue were considered important enough by FBFI leadership and had there been a will to act, a good resolution similar to the GARBC's, could've been drafted. "Time" and "organizational structure," I don't believe, were really the reasons for FBFI inaction. Could it be that this whole issue was intentionally ignored at the FBFI meeting because 1) acting would've looked like a slap at the Vice Chairman, 2) acting would've looked like capitulation to the "IFB haters," and 3) "the less said, the better -- if we ignore this and focus on other stuff, people will eventually forget about it" (a common political strategy, no?)?

Maybe not, but whatever the case, kudos to the GARB guys. They've provided a helpful tool for those of us in other associations.

Jay's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Rob,

While they are organized different, the FBF still had ample time to do so if they wanted. After Willis was arrested, they were still planning on having the national meeting in Concord. When they changed the venue, there was time to write a resolution. I am on a committee writing a similar one. We have less time, but because of email and phone, we should have no problem drafting one.


I agree. While I can understand the logistical difficulties in having members scattered all throughout the US (or world), the ability to communicate via email, website, and cell phone is unparalleled in world history. This isn't the day of the Pony Express hand couriering mail from South Carolina to Alaska, nor is this a problem that just happened a week ago.

Even a little something done by the FBFI would have been better than Jim's pointed illustration. At the very least, "Hey, we're working on something" is better than everyone sitting around wondering if they'll do something. I have been really, really concerned about the FBFI for a few years, and this is yet another illustration of why...they seem to be unwilling or unable to respond to major crises in a timely manner. Maybe that's because the leadership doesn't understand how quickly things have changed out here, but they're really beginning to look like either they can't respond or that they don't want to respond to this issue in particular. Personally, I'm confident that they want to respond rightly, but it certainly doesn't look like they want to, and that speaks volumes.

Part of managing a crisis is to get a highly visible response with your side of the story out there. The FBFI does not do that.

"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

Don Johnson's picture

Is that the only or best response?

And I reiterate what I have posted elsewhere, the FBFI doesn't pass resolutions at the annual meeting, it does publish resolutions at that time in the issue of Frontline that comes out that month. Those resolutions are passed by the board in our winter meeting.

You can criticise us for not having a mechanism for timely response. I suppose that is true. But we hope to change that point. All I can say to that criticism is, stay tuned.

But I am not convinced a resolution is the best thing the FBFI could do about this issue. And in any case, I find it quite amazing that those who are clamoring for a resolution now are likely among those who criticised the FBFI in the past for passing resolutions at all. Search back in the SI forums and see if that isn't so! Hypocrisy would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

DavidO's picture

Don,

Did the FBFI really need another resolution on beverage alcohol? The SBC? Musical style associations? If they're going to pass them, they might consider not recovering the same ground every two to three years.

I will say I found Dr. Shumate's resolution on T4G thoughtful, fair, and nuanced. That's something everyone would like to see more of, I think.

Rob Fall's picture

the FBFI is rooted in part in a reaction to "martini drinking" NBC missionaries. The alcohol resolution is not surprising.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jay's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
Is that the only or best response?

And I reiterate what I have posted elsewhere, the FBFI doesn't pass resolutions at the annual meeting, it does publish resolutions at that time in the issue of Frontline that comes out that month. Those resolutions are passed by the board in our winter meeting.

You can criticise us for not having a mechanism for timely response. I suppose that is true. But we hope to change that point. All I can say to that criticism is, stay tuned.

But I am not convinced a resolution is the best thing the FBFI could do about this issue. And in any case, I find it quite amazing that those who are clamoring for a resolution now are likely among those who criticised the FBFI in the past for passing resolutions at all. Search back in the SI forums and see if that isn't so! Hypocrisy would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.


Don - SOME kind of response from the FBFI would be nice and is certainly merited, considering Phelps is one of their most highly visible Board members. He's been accused by people of covering up a rape incident, for crying out loud, and that's before we talk about the 'church discipline' fiasco with Tina "I've been raped but have to confess that I'm to blame in front of the entire church" Anderson. Oh, and it was what - 13 years ago? 13 years that Willis walked free and Anderson suffered?

Look, I've been trying to give Phelps a break on this because a lot of the claims that are out there (and some of the ones made on this site) are made by people who are more interested in getting Phelps arrested than they are in the actual case. Phelps has said that it was handled correctly, but at some point someone ought to say, "You know, I botched this, and I was wrong. I'm sorry." Instead, the FBFI and everyone else (other than the current pastor at Trinity) pretends like nothing happened. The FBFI is doing the exact same thing that Trinity Concord did for thirteen years.

Maybe the real problem is that Phelps isn't Reformed in his ecclesiology or affiliated with Grace Community Church. Then I'm sure everyone would be all over him.

"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

RPittman's picture

My comment is strictly limited to the content and style of the GARBC resolution without any reference or inference to the need, the effectiveness, the FBFI, or any other peripheral issue. The GARBC resolution seems to be simple, clear, and well-written. It is specific enough to make clear its meaning but it is not too specific to overburden with details and side issues. It is a clear statement of position without finger-pointing or implied blame. It references Biblical passages in support. It is basically sound from a Biblical viewpoint. It does not smell of a feminist philosophy. Also, it addresses prevention. Overall, this is a good resolution for those desiring to pass a resolution.

RPittman's picture

Having adopted the resolution, the big question now is, "Where do we go from here?" This is what I am interested to see.

Dan Frank's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
And in any case, I find it quite amazing that those who are clamoring for a resolution now are likely among those who criticised the FBFI in the past for passing resolutions at all. Search back in the SI forums and see if that isn't so! Hypocrisy would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.

Hypocrisy is a non-issue here. To make it so is a red herring. I've never had problems with the FBFI making resolutions. My problem has been the CONTENT of the resolutions. The issue here is that the FBFI indicates what is important to it by the resolutions it passes. The Tina Anderson incident came to light over a year ago. If resolutions were decided over the winter, the FBFI had more than enough time to pass something IF it was important to them. Not passing anything indicates simply that making changes among their churches on the issue of sexual abuse is not a priority to them.