Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

SBC leader proposes reforms to address sexual abuse

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear speaking to the denomination’s executive leadership in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday Associated Press/Photo by Mark Humphrey

SBC leader proposes reforms to address sexual abuse

The leader of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) on Monday announced proposed changes following an investigative report published last week finding widespread sexual abuse by pastors, staff, and volunteers in the denomination. “Brothers and sisters, there is a problem,” SBC President J.D. Greear said during prepared remarks at a two-day meeting of the denomination’s executive committee. “This is not a fabricated story made up by people with a secular agenda. We’ve not taken reports of abuse in our churches as seriously as our gospel demands, and sometimes even worse, outright ignored or silenced victims. It’s time we back up our words with actions that demonstrate our concern about this.”

Greear proposed providing more resources for churches to deal with sexual abuse, requiring more background checks for leaders and staff, and changing the SBC bylaws to allow for the removal of churches that show a “wanton disregard for sexual abuse.” He also announced an agreement by the six Southern Baptist seminaries to make training on abuse prevention mandatory and said the idea of a registry of convicted or credibly accused leaders and volunteers was under consideration.

Greear provided a list of 10 churches he said should be scrutinized for their handling of sexual abuse allegations and potentially removed from the SBC, including Second Baptist Church in Houston, a 60,000-member congregation pastored by former SBC President Ed Young.

Kiley Crossland Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.


Please wait while we load the latest comments...


Please register or subscribe to comment on this article.


well said.


Because the church has been a part of the world for too long it is paying the price.

As volunteers we were fingerprinted because we worked with children. It was a good thing, but is that where it stopped, with teachers? I continually warned my husband to never be alone with any child and be careful of hugging. Isn't that sad. He loves children but there are people who might get the wrong idea of a hug.

I was Southern Baptist born and raised. With all the internet stuff, temptations galore, it's a mess. Churches have been governed by businessmen who want entertainers to head the pulpits to draw more people. And loud music that has lost its reverence to God. No guidance of things like modest dress and adult living arrangements, for fear of hurting someone's feelings. Isn't that sad because groups like LDS and JW have whole lists to follow and they are not hurting for membership. So why are Christian churches afraid to tell people what the Bible says about how they should govern their lives? I know that it isn't about works, but you don't go, get saved, and then carry on business as usual. Now that I am saved I can do what I want?