Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vocal for victims

You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.

 ~ William Wilberforce

A Georgia pastor, Peter Lumpkins, authored a resolution on child abuse that was passed at the SBC annual meeting last month in Houston. A greater awareness of abuse is always a great start, but what are the practical implications of a non-binding resolution? Who will police it? Who will oversee accountability and action? What discipline will there be, if any, for churches and pastors who have failed or fail in the future to report abuse?

Does Lumpkins have a blind side when it comes to cases of recorded and documented sexual abuse of children within SBC churches, not just within evangelical organizations with which the SBC has close ties, like Sovereign Grace Ministries that prompted him to write and present the resolution?


While I appreciate the gravity of the SGM lawsuit that recently and rapidly captured his attention, where has Peter been in the last few years of documented cases of child sex abuse and coverup like happened at Prestonwood Baptist with Langworthy? Weeks ago when I first heard about his resolution, I tried a couple of  times to submit a comment on Peter's blog encouraging that the light of truth also shine on documented abuse and cover up WITHIN the SBC, like at Prestonwood, but he never would publish any of those comments. He doesn't seem to have had any hesitation speaking out on behalf of the SGM survivors and the lawsuit (and rightly so), so why not for survivors of abuse within his own SBC churches?


The SBC must be willing to demand accountability in reporting of abuse and cease using autonomy as an excuse not to discipline churches and pastors within the SBC who cover up abuse. According to the Associated Baptist Press, in 2010, "for the second year in a row, the Georgia Baptist Convention has withdrawn fellowship from one of its most historic member churches for calling a woman as pastor."  The SBC seems to be selective in the use of their autonomous polity. 
























A response to the SBC abuse resolution sent to me by Becky Ianni, SNAP Virginia leader:
I am glad to see that the SBC is making better child protection policies but more important than creating new policies is enforcing them. Children will only be safe when perpetrators are exposed and brought to justice. I hope that the SBC will report every suspected case of child abuse, past and present, to authorities but it is still important for every citizen to report any suspected, witnessed or experienced sexual abuse to the proper authorities, As a mother of four and victim of childhood sexual abuse I never want another child to suffer what I did as a child and continue to deal with as an adult.
 I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do. ~ Dwight L. Moody 




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