The following news headline on ChurchLeaders.com caught my attention: “SBC President Bart Barber Says Implementation Task Force Strengthened by Different Perspectives, Backgrounds”
The headline would be humorous if it was not so tragic. To be transparent, I am an independent Baptist, and foremost a Bible believer who believes the Word of God should be our guide for faith and practice. As such, my focus is not denominations, but the local church–specifically the local church where I have served for 38 years, and have been Senior Pastor the past 28 years.
Because my daily devotional commentaries are read by believers around the world, and represent a cross section of churches and denominations, I feel a responsibility to address the ongoing reports of sexual abuse in SBC churches.
To my SBC readers: I urge you to set aside the denominational rhetoric and examine the sexual abuse scandal in the SBC from a Biblical perspective.
While I see reports on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Churches (SBC) on my daily news feeds, I have yet to see where any writer or preacher puts the burden where it actually belongs…the local church.
As a denomination, if the SBC (as a corporate entity) was aware of abuses, the preachers on the SBC committees share responsibility for failing to address the abusers, report them to the proper legal authorities, and follow Matthew 18:15-17 to its conclusion…ultimately discipline out of the membership. Perhaps its ignorance, or worse–a gross tolerance of sin; nevertheless, local churches and pastors have failed the Lord, and any coverup of sin is intolerable.
Make no mistake: This is a local church failure and no amount of committees will fix “sin in the camp.”
With the heart of a shepherd,
Travis D. Smith
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith