Sunday, May 22 of, 2022, marks the darkest day of the Southern Baptist Convention in my recollection. I am ashamed of actions within my denomination, much akin to Isaiah when he cries out that he is undone in his sin and dwells among culpable people of unclean lips. This revealing report of blatant disregard and often intentional harm done to victims of sexual abuse is no better than the practices of the Pharisees themselves.
At present, my fearful thoughts center on these basic ten ponderings
- Pray for pastors. Wow. We often tritely say to pray, but for those pastors who keep the faith, the ministry has just become all the more difficult.
- Quit worshipping these guys. In 1 Corinthians, people tout Paul, Apollos, and others as their favorite preachers. Stop it! When we make them rock stars, we subject them to greater temptations and fall into a culture of theological idolatry. Yes, I love several men who rightly present truth; however, I am reminded that these are men and not Christ.
- We all sin. Psalm 53:3 reminds us that we are all guilty. We all will one day stand before God. Let us not ridicule another. Let us be about our impalements. Further, just because someone has fallen in sin does not justify us thinking we were and are right.
- Be redemptive where repentance has been made. We are commanded to restore the repentant. (Galatians 6:1). This restoration does not necessitate empowerment to return to sin.
- Repentance involves several specifics. True repentance involves clear-cut confession, not general statements, a willingness to submit to authorities, a restoration of wrongs (Ephesians 4:28F), and thus giving evidence of heart change.
- We Southern Baptists must care for victims. There are many possibilities here, not the least of which include assuring them that they are innocent and should not remain as forever identified by the sins against them.
- Listen to these people. They are the weightier matters. Matthew 23:23
- I believe God will hate our denomination if we turn a blind eye to the issue at hand. This includes our emphasis on the Great Commission. (Amos 5:21.) I say this in part as the report often shows how the Great Commission was an idolized scapegoat for our leaders.
- Christ remains the main thing. For those churches who stay committed to the Bible, this will be where we begin, continue, and end. For too long, we have divided over secondary issues.
- We, therefore, need true revival, not a show for recommitment, but a fundamental change of heart. It is my opinion that after reading much of the SATF report, this year’s convention must scrap all scheduled programs and see EC resignations, open confession and repentance by everyone, and a falling upon our faces in prayer. We do not need another sermon. Scripture as God has commanded must be obeyed. We need to seek God.
Further, if we are going to work in the public eye, we would do well to fight the injustices of sexual abuse in all areas, none-the-least of which include pornography and human trafficking.
I believe God is bringing judgment. We should all repent in sackcloth and ashes while we can.