The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has voted to waive its attorney-client privilege rights in order to cooperate with an investigation into instances of sexual abuse allegedly committed by pastors and lay leaders – and has hired an independent investigative agency to look into the accusations raised by two Texas newspapers that the denomination hid that information.
That agency, Guidepost Solutions, asked the 86-member Executive Committee to give up its attorney-client privilege to allow a thorough investigation into the denomination. On Tuesday, the Executive Committee did just that. SBC pastor and Christian apologist Dr. Alex McFarland says it was the right thing to do.
"Giving up attorney-client privilege, I would say, [is] a good thing because it means there's going to be transparency," he shares with AFN.
In early 2019, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News claimed that 380 Southern Baptist pastors, youth workers, and volunteers abused more than 700 victims over a 20-year span. At least 35 of those alleged offenders were moved around to other churches instead of turned in, according to the newspaper reports. In McFarland's eyes, even one sexual abuse by an SBC leader is scandalous.
"We categorically condemn sexual harassment and sexual abuse, and certainly within the church," he states. "That's wrong – and if anyone has been victimized, they deserve restitution and a hearing."
McFarland says the sexual assault allegations further taint a denomination which is already being accused of bending to social pressure and cultural "woke"-ism.
"In the [SBC] hierarchy, in the big machine, I fear that there have been a lot … in recent years that have been more about ideology and social architecture than proclaiming the gospel," he laments.
Guidepost Solutions says the goal of its assessment and investigation is to "pursue the best interests of survivors and the SBC at large by prioritizing transparency, accountability and the highest ethical standards and practices."