I subscribe to Christianity Today and read this article today regarding the SBC discussing the expulsion of churches within their organization who have been covering up abuse. My response is twofold.
- “The SBC is considering requiring background checks for denominational leaders and has urged churches to include such screening in the ordination process.” This quote is taken directly from the article. I am horrified that they don’t require background checks! They’ve left the door open and are now shocked that the fox is in the chicken coop. **I understand that it is a church-by-church basis regarding vetting employees and volunteers. But, not to have an organizational policy is negligent at best.
- “All SBC seminaries will now require students to undergo training on caring for abuse survivors.” Also taken directly from the article. Why train seminarians if the whole church body is cast out from the fold? While it is necessary and valid for seminarians to be trained in coming alongside abuse victims, why does the larger parent of the SBC not come alongside the church and offer support? Instead, they cast out the offensive church treating it much like the older brother did towards the prodigal son. In reality, John and Jane Doe who sit in the middle of the pew on the left side of the church may not have ever be aware of what was happening within their church. Now, a huge scandal has shaken them to the core, and their co-workers and neighbors are asking all kinds of questions that they cannot answer. And, when they as well as 90% of the congregation are grieving and angry and hurting, they need stability and prayer and counsel. Instead, their parent of the SBC shuns them, casts them out, expels them without a shred of grace and compassion.
And we wonder why so many people leave the church. This article reflects on younger adults who leave the church. I’m not surprised. Why wouldn’t they leave?
And we scratch our heads in disbelief.