The aftermath of the Southern Baptist Convention waiving their attorney client privilege with regards to an investigation into unspecified claims of sex abuse mishandlings has yielded what appears to be initial results. These results stem from the Jennifer Lyell incident from 2019. It has been announced that Lyell will be receiving an undisclosed amount of compensation from Southern Baptist for mistreatment. The SBC also put out a statement apologizing to her.
The SBC acknowledges this case as sex abuse and apologizes for not being clear about that in its initial reporting. However, the initial reporting by the Baptist Press in March of 2019 relied heavily on the statement made by Jennifer Lyell herself. The statement since initial publish has undergone edits as Lyell has walked back her acknowledgement of having sinned during this occasion. In other words, the narrative is changing. This was in large part because of Racheal Denhollander and the Caring Well Initiative.
The key details of this case are that Jennifer Lyell had a sexual relationship with David Sills, a former professor at SBTS, that began in 2004 when she was 26 and lasted 12 years ending when she was 38. Additionally, Sills brought Lyell home to befriend his family.
The ChurchToo movement, a spinoff of the feminist MeToo movement, is trying to frame this as a case of grooming. However, what biblical framework exists to substantiate this narrative?
In the video, Evangelical Dark Web recalls Peter Lumpkins asking the same questions. Am I really to believe that a 26 year old adult female having sex with a college professor is grooming, a notion traditionally reserved for children? Peter Lumpkins puts in kindly when he wrote:
Assuming a unilateral manipulative, exploitative, wrongful beginning (“grooming”) of the relationship by the perverted professor, at what point does a 12 year voluntary but illicit sexual relationship between two grown adults, at times, miles apart, cease to be a unilaterally manipulative, exploitative, and wrongful relationship? Or does it? Are we to understand that a 38 year old woman who is having a sexual relationship with a married man, and does so at long distances, is doing so because she is trapped in a sexual abuse scandal in which she cannot escape?
The logical answer is no.
Baptist Press caving into the pressure by Caring Well celebrities and conference attenders to both apologize for publishing and then retracting a story that fundamentally was correct remains a dangerous precedent for our news wire service.
More problematic still is the notion that the definition of sexual abuse has now been broadened to include voluntary sexual affairs by two consenting adults. It’s true that powerful people in authoritative positions can exploit, manipulate, and deceive others into an initially unwanted relationship. Granted. No one is suggesting otherwise, and we rightly condemn it when it undeniably takes place.
However, to argue that an illicit relationship between two adults that started by devious exploitation of one over the over while the other was under the manipulative person’s authority but continued on years later after no such authority was present remains morally absurd.
The moral absurdity comes from internalizing feminism which is seeking to remove the culpability of woman to commit murder (via abortion) and sexual sin. This is what the Southern Baptist Convention is both giving into and adopting. The feminist thus loot the SBC.
The Southern Baptist Convention mishandled these allegations by first not terminating Lyell’s employment with Lifeway for sexual immorality and secondly paying her.