The SBC Executive Committee Meeting has come to a close. While there were positive moments for the SBC with JD Greear apologizing publicly and naming ten churches publicly, the suggestions from that meeting boils down to this:
- Talking: Talk about Training. Talk about abuse at #SBC19. Talk about it to our churches through new curriculum. Talk about updating policies and changes.
- Databases: Use existing databases for background checks. Create an internal SBC database. Update database of Church profiles to include if they have taken steps.
- Signaling: Signal collective commitment by signing a document. Signal commitment by making changes (unspecified). As the SBC, signal disapproval by disfellowshipping churches that fail to protect members.
So what’s still missing?
We break it down below.
- What are specific policy change recommendations do they think churches and organizations need to implement? Some specifics will take time to flesh out. However, there are changes that have been identified by many others that can be done quickly.
PROACTIVE Policy Changes
- Databases are only good at catching repeat offenders but do little to expose or prevent first time abusers AND setting up our own database would open the SBC up to ascending and descending liabilities legally. Whatever is done needs to be done carefully so that mission dollars are not at risk for the negligent actions of a church.
- Signaling and education are good, but plenty of people educated on the matter can still be hurt by abusers using organizational policies to silence and hurt them.
What could be a first quick step?
Remove Non-Disparagement Clauses. This should be a no-brainer. There is ample evidence that Non-Disparagement clauses cause more harm then good in organizations. Yet, this is ALWAYS absent from suggested changes by SBC leaders. Why? Is it because some SBC leaders might be afraid that other sins,
abuses of power
misuse of funds,
might be exposed if we remove them from current and past employees?
- We are called to be above reproach, not hide it.
Discourage the use of clergy penitent privilege by pastors and leaders when it comes to sexual abuse cases.
- This seems obvious, but has been avoided by leadership. Is it because one of their own claimed it in a case where a member molested at least seven boys?
Apology by those who tried to use their influence to silence journalists and whistle blowers
There are two people who stand out in this.
- Albert Mohler – Who tried to use his influence to silence Brent Detwiler and keep Janet Mefferd from having him on his radio show when investigating the scandal at Sovereign Grace Ministries.
- Kevin Ezell – Whose Executive Director of Public Relations, Mike Ebert, sent a threatening message to Joni Hannigan insinuating NAMB might accuse her of libel after she mentioned a newspaper published story about Kevin Ezell and said , “…in the strongest terms possible to remove what you have posted about Kevin”
- You can read about what happened to Janet and Joni here:
We are still waiting.