SBC President J.D. Greear Gives Recommendations For Addressing Sexual Abuse Scandal

jd greear

J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, gave an address today to the Convention’s executive committee that set forth ten recommendations to address the current sexual abuse scandal. The Biblical Reporter summarized Greear’s recommendations as follows:

  •  A call to “repent for decades of inaction;”
  • The announcement of a series of 12 training videos called, “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused;”
  • The announcement that all six Southern Baptist seminaries, officers of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders and all Baptist state conventions have adopted three respective “Statement of Principles on Abuse” documents;
  • A call for Southern Baptist churches, associations, conventions and entities to take immediate action to review policies and procedures relating to abuse;
  • A call for the SBC Executive Committee to make background checks a minimum requirement for Southern Baptist committees and trustee boards;
  • A call for Southern Baptists to review local church ordination practices to ensure proper vetting;
  • A call for state conventions and LifeWay to identify questions related to abuse that can be added to the Annual Church Profile;The announcement of programming at the SBC annual meeting that will address abuse among Southern Baptists, including a time of lament and an event hosted by the ERLC;
  • The announcement that the Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group is evaluating the possibility of creating a database of offenders, but Greear acknowledged the development of such a resource is “complicated” and “will take time to evaluate;”
  • A statement that the study group “strongly believes” the governing documents of the SBC should be reviewed and amended regarding the definition of a cooperating church, so that churches demonstrating “wanton disregard for sexual abuse … are not in good fellowship with this convention.”

Greear said, “We need to regard any exposure, any shining of light on abuse, as our friend, even if it makes us ask some uncomfortable questions about ourselves, publicly. Our job is to love and serve people, especially those who have suffered abuse. Our job is not to protect our reputation.” Nice words. Let’s see if these words become actions. I have my doubts. I just looked at the SBC website. Not one mention of the sexual abuse scandal. So far, it is business as usual.

Enough? Smoke and mirrors? Same old shit, new day? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.


  1. ObstacleChick

    How about the SBC gets rid of complementarianism and prohibitions against equality for women in the church? That would be a step for educating the next generation that women and men are equal rather than women being in a submissive role to men. (Comolementarian teaching was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and started my exit from evangelicalism, so it’s a touchy subject for me.)

  2. Zoe

    I saw a bit of his interview on CNN yesterday. I talked back to him as he made each point. This has been going on a long time and everyone is acting like it’s a “new thing.” If not for the recent “mass exposure” I wonder if he’d be speaking out? I don’t think so.

    A statement that the study group “strongly believes” the governing documents of the SBC should be reviewed and amended regarding the definition of a cooperating church, so that churches demonstrating “wanton disregard for sexual abuse … are not in good fellowship with this convention.”

    Based on your conventions past “wanton disregard for sexual abuse” that would include almost every one of your churches wouldn’t it? The cover-up has been going on for “decades” <- Understatement. So not you're just going to do the "repentance" thing, and move on? Good luck with that. You might want to start at "defining" what repentance looks like in the SBC. I don't think you have a clue.

    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Now we have Al Mohler apologizing for his years long support of sexual abuse cover up artist C.J. Mahaney. Should we all now clap for Mohler? Not me. Mohler was worried about fallout over condemning Mahaney, so he did NOTHING. Now, with the SBC sex scandal raging, he has an opportunity to correct his error without paying much of a price. I suspect we will see a lot more confessions from SBC leaders in coming months. All I have to say to them is this: where were you when it mattered; when victims needed men of character to stand up for them? You were on the golf course. . . so forgive me if I don’t buy your contrition.

      1. Zoe

        I see any supposed “contrition” as only a means to save his own hide.

      2. Bob

        Actually, Bruce you are being too generous with Mohler. Instead of doing NOTHING (when Mahaney was accused of covering up abuse), Big Al stood behind his buddy CJ and helped him get “resettled” in Louisville KY. Then Mohler mocked people who were researching abuse on the internet. The SBC cronyism is sickening.

  3. Matilda

    “…..Our job is to love and serve people, especially those who have suffered abuse. Our job is not to protect our reputation.” Oh c’mon now, Greear and the officials in his denomination are running round like headless chickens on a mission of damage limitation, pure and simple. They may retain a tiny tiny bit of credibility if they did the following:
    …made reporting to child protection agencies, the police etc mandatory in all their churches, right now, not after an endless series of committee meetings.
    …compensated survivors financially – till it hurt their fat cat lifestyles. Paying for therapy would be a great idea.
    …sack anyone who abused anyone in their flock and put them on a public database.
    …gave rigid assurances not one more person would be harmed inside a church.
    In the Uk, there have been some abuse scandals, but our rules, like mandatory reporting, the database, the requirement for anyone working with children or the vulnerable to have a police check lessen it a lot. No one here would think of running children’s clubs, lunch clubs for the elderly etc etc without ensuring all their staff and volunteers have that police check certificate. Or they would be liable under law. I’m amazed that it seems adults can be in a one-to-one situation with a child in the USA. That again is totally beyond the pale here and it’s natural not to do it, there must be 2 adults present in any Sunday School class, for example. My last church, we had a Sunday School of 2-10 children, so it was tempting for me to take them on my own, if only 2 turned up and they were my best friend’s children but the rule is that I still had to have a partner with me.
    Words are cheap, Greear, action costs money. Nuff said.

  4. Karen the rock whisperer

    Maybe Greear is trying for a cushy job at the Vatican. He certainly has the scandal response talk down.

  5. Kris

    In conclusion. You are no longer allowed to molest the kids you force women to have.

  6. Charles

    The thing that struck me most about that list of bulleted items is the lack of bulleted measures to take care of the kids and women who get sexually and otherwise abused at church. The list looked to me like something drawn up by an attorney as a “cover your ass” (CYA) list to avoid law suits. God forbid that the victims get any attention!!!!! It reminds my of that asshole in Hammond, Indiana who was screwing the troubled teenage girl in his church—who he was supposed to be counseling rather than screwing. When matters were toward being finished, the congregation said the most important thing the church could do was bring about emotional healing between the errant pastor and his wife. Not a word as said about healing for the teenage girl who was the real victim of this megalomaniacal pastor who is now cooling his heels in a federal prison. You can watch a short video about it here:

    But I guess one can credit the SBC with at least a start down the right road.


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