SBC's focus: Work to prevent future abuse – not to point fingers

SBC's focus: Work to prevent future abuse – not to point fingers

SBC's focus: Work to prevent future abuse – not to point fingers

An official with the Southern Baptist Convention's Sexual Abuse Task Force is reacting to a pro-"gay" tweet from the company that was hired by the denomination to do the investigation.

On Monday, Guidepost Solutions blindsided that task force when the company tweeted: "We celebrate our collective progress toward equality for all and are proud to be an ally to our LGBTQ+ community." Marshall Blalock, vice-chair of the SBC's Sexual Abuse Task Force, admits the pro-LGBT tweet came as a surprise.

"We were very disappointed that they did that, for sure," he tells AFN. "In fact, I don't think anyone on the team that worked with us knew it was coming …. It was a tough day Monday, to be honest with you."

The tweet threw a shadow over an already controversial report and list of recommendations Guidepost had prepared on sexual abuse within the SBC over the last 20 years, and the Executive Committee's handling of such complaints. Blalock shares that he's getting questions about why the task force didn't hire a Christian organization to do the investigation.

"In the end, only one company was big enough to take on the challenge – [and] we also only had eight months to do it all," he explains. "Guidepost was the only one that fit the criteria."

According to Blalock, Guidepost clearly made an effort to accommodate the denomination's faith and convictions: "Almost all [those on the team] were attorneys, but they were also either Southern Baptist or Christians of similar-like faith and order …."

In the wake of the revealing tweet from Guidepost, Blalock says his first concern is that the close association with the secular company isn't used as an excuse to discount the report or its findings and recommendations.

"I didn't want anybody to get distracted by what happened at Guidepost," he assures. "I wanted to make sure we got back and said: No, let's humbly work together to do all we can to help prevent sexual abuse in our churches."

Southern Baptist Pastor Voddie Baucham concurs – but adds an explanation regarding "oversight" is in order regarding implementation of any recommendations in the SBC, where individual churches operate autonomously.

"These issues must be addressed – [and] in many instances, they are being addressed," says Baucham. "But in the instances where they're not, they need to be addressed in the context of SBC polity."

It's not with a church's jurisdiction or authority, the pastor explained, to deal with a crime issue. "That's the state's jurisdiction. We don't prosecute crimes in the church," he adds.

Baucham, who is running to lead this year's SBC Pastor's Conference in Anaheim, made his comments Friday on American Family Radio.

Editor's note: The SATB offers two options to report an instance of abuse – by phone at 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com. Survivors will be notified of the available options for care and will be put in touch with an advocate. All information will remain confidential.