The Southern Baptist Convention has been in turmoil the last week or so after the release of the Guide Stone report about sexual misconduct among pastors and leaders in the SBC. This has fueled secular media outlets and has harmed the church, not just the SBC, but the church in general. And, in my belief, the SBC has been unbiblical in this process.
Now, I want to make some disclaimers and some observations.
First, I am not part of the Southern Baptist Convention. I do not know the inner-workings of the SBC overall other than just a cursory knowledge of how it works. Second, I have not done a deep dive in this case for further investigation. This is just from what I understand based on news reports.
But, from what I understand, the SBC has released a list of individuals that are being accused whether proven guilty or not. This is wrong. This should never happen. This is unbiblical.
The Bible tells us how we are to handle sin in the church.
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 18:15–20.
Has this been followed in all of the cases of allegations in the SBC? Based on reports, I do not believe so. As a result, at least one pastor has been harmed, probably irreversibly so, by being named by a media outlet by mistake.
This is what happens when we do not follow the guidelines God has laid out in Scripture.
Now, I want to make something clear, I am not discrediting the reports as I am sure many of them are legitimate. But this is not the way to handle this. This is unbiblical. People need to be held accountable. That means the accused as well as the accusers. God wrote Matthew 18 for a reason. We don’t just go shouting accusations from the rooftops. We go to that person, in private, and escalate if need be. Not escalate and watch the chips fall.