, 26 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Time to talk about what’s happened with @jdgreear’s recommendations to the @EC_SBC, the “Bylaws Work Group”, what’s happened since, and what’s next (possibly). Buckle up. #SBC19 #churchtoo
Recently, in a speech to the Executive Committee, President @jdgreear made some major recommendations for reform in light of the Abuse of Faith series in the Houston Chronicle.

Catch up:
Series: houstonchronicle.com/local/investig…

Recommendations - tennessean.com/story/news/rel…
In particular, Greear called for the EC to inquire into 10 specific churches (some small, some large, and some notorious) about their handling of sexual abuse. See below for a qualifying example that might put a church on the list.
“I am not calling for disfellowshipping any of these churches at this point, but these churches must be called upon to give assurances to the SBC that they have taken the necessary steps to correct their policies and procedures with regards to abuse and survivors.”
Additionally, Greear asked that the governing documents of the SBC be reviewed and amended to address the definition of a cooperating church. This is crucial: what is the basis of disfellowshipping a church harboring abusers? It must be clear in our documents they’re unfit.
While questions have been raised about the fitness of the executive committee’s bylaws workgroup to address the matter of the 10 churches named by JD, it should be said that this is who JD asked to consider it. This work group is a subset of the @EC_SBC Admin Committee.
This is where things get confusing. As @edstetzer pointed out, these things typically take months. In this case? 2 days. Why the rush? Perhaps concerns about autonomy and liability left them paralyzed, which is reasonable. But the results aren’t pretty.
Essentially, the @EC_SBC Bylaws Work Group issued a mild rebuke to @jdgreear in a statement released 2 days later and a skeleton of 4 guidelines for inquiry into a church’s status as a church in friendly cooperation. Both are below. bpnews.net/52467/sbc-byla…
There are a number of issues with that statement, but perhaps the most problematic is that the bylaws workgroup released the statement as if it spoke for the full EC. The full EC was not told beforehand nor did they vote. (Multiple sources confirm this.) Why?
Note that in the Baptist Press article, it says that the work group statement was released to the full executive committee. In other words, the statement that was made public in Baptist Press was a statement to the full EC, but they also released it to BP simultaneously.
So let’s talk about their conclusions in light of the actual problem. What was the @HoustonChron dominant point about sexual abuse in the SBC? It was |NOT| that SBC churches were hiring convicted sex offenders.
The primary problem noted throughout the series and subsequent articles is the failure of churches to report instances of abuse in their church or by church leaders, and allowing them to continue in ministry or to move quietly to another church.
As was pointed out tongue in cheek regarding the criteria the bylaws work group chose:
So, when you look at the actual problem on its face, the bylaws work group essentially did very little to address the problem. How’s that? Because their system is entirely reactive and not at all proactive. It only acts once the entire justice system process has played out.
Every statistic and bit of research we have says that the majority of sexual abuse is not reported because of the trauma and shame associated with that. Only 29% of child sexual abuse cases ever ends in arrests.
This is another crucial point: complicating factors like the realities of abuse report rates clearly were not considered at great length, since no experts on sex abuse were called before the committee to educate them since they only considered the matter for a little over 24 hrs.
So while a database may not be feasible, for a variety of reasons, this response in light of the actual problem, which in general (though not in every case) is not the hiring of |convicted| sexual abusers, but under-the-radar transition of serial abusers between churches.
Let’s get more specific: One of the main victims from the article, David Pittman, was sexually abused by his youth pastor. The statute of limitations has run out, however, so the EC cleared the church that now employs him. He will never be convicted. By these rules we do nothing.
Note: Pitman’s abuser has confessed he molested him. Still on staff.

If these rules are how we decide to act in response to sexual abuse, the only meaningful difference between churches mishandling similar sexual abuse instances may be the statute of limitations in their state.
What now will happen with this hurried conclusion? The @EC_SBC Bylaws Work Group will propose an amendment to Article III of the SBC Constitution (“Composition”) with the language of the 4 criteria chosen. See below. Then it will go to the messengers for debate.
The amendment (above) can also be amended, and those amendments to the amendment are done on the basis of a majority vote after debate. Once the original amendment has a final form, it must be passed by a 2/3 vote at two consecutive Conventions: 2019 and 2020.
Only the messengers have the power to act. What passes may not even resemble this. But it will take a monumental parliamentary and advocacy effort from those wishing to strengthen the language to protect abuse. Notably, the amendment has almost no vocal support from SBC leaders.
This entire process also shows the importance of the SBC presidency, but not in the way you might think. It is important that JD has led so well in this season. But perhaps more importantly: everyone making decisions on the executive committee was put there by an SBC president.
The amendment will now go to the Messengers for consideration. The debate will ensue. The Convention will act according to the messengers. What we do in years to come will in large part depend on who shows up, debates + votes this, and votes for president in years to come. #SBC19
Lastly, it really can’t be understated how possible it is that the Convention fails to pass any amendment whatsoever. The 2/3 vote is a purposefully high threshold. What a shame on us all if we fail to act at #SBC19. Public debate needs to start. We need to get on the same page.
Just a little clarity here:
The president picks the Committee on Committees. They appoint the Nominating Committee. The NC chooses the EC nominees, and the Convention votes on them. It’s indirect influence.
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