Griffin Gulledge is a mid-level player in the SBC bbut he has bylines in The Gospel Coalition. He penned a piece titled, How Should Baptists and Christians Respond to the SBC Task Force’s Report on Sexual Abuse? In this article, he urges Southern Baptist to stay in the SBC to face their collective responsibility. What exactly does that mean, and what does that entail?
Included in the Sex Abuse Task Force Report is the recommendation to create a program from either the Cooperative Program or selling assets to payout abuse survivors (and other categories the SBC considers victims, like Jennifer Lyell.) So if the Southern Baptist Convention adopts these recommendations, the Cooperative Program will substantially increase its focus on liability. The article proclaims the liberal narrative, ignoring how much the report obfuscates and actually covers up sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention. But towards the end he makes a guilt trip sales pitch to stay in the SBC: responsibility.
This last point is directed to my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters rather than Christians at large. Many of you are likely ready to walk away at this point. But who are you walking away from? We now know that our leaders, our money, and our institutions hurt people. Can we say with a clear conscience, “I’m done”? At this moment when justice cries out, dare we walk away? This is the hour to speak up, to refuse to yield, to fight for the justice and mercy God requires of us. To walk away from the SBC now is to walk away from victims. To walk away now is to walk away from our responsibility.
There hasn’t been a reason to be in the Southern Baptist Convention for a while now. The attempt to “take the ship” failed in 2021 as 60% of the messengers voted for a liberal candidate in the first round of the SBC presidential election.
But Griffin Gulledge wants Southern Baptist to stay because autonomous churches are somehow responsible for what men like Johnny Hunt do. To walk away from the SBC now is to walk away from the embarrassment that goes on at the national level. Gulledge wants churches to fight for justice, but what he’s really getting at is to fund systems that will enrich lawyers.
The Guidepost report closes with important recommendations, all of which will receive serious consideration as SBC messengers prepare to meet for the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim. At that meeting, the Sexual Abuse Task Force will be allotted time to bring these recommendations—and perhaps others—to the Convention floor. My prayer is that Baptists will live up to the inerrant Word we believe in and find the resolve to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:10), no matter the cost. God help us.
When the SAFT report recommends additional funds and organizations, for Griffin Gulledge to say “no matter the cost” is clearly a desperate plea for money to fund the laibilty that abusers bring.
The Cooperative Program was created for churches to pool resources together for missions, not liability. This notion will be yet another nail in the SBC coffin. Griffin Gulledge is either in denial or trying to appease the elites. But the guilt trip manipulation he’s trying to employ is both shallow and stands against fundamental Baptist church polity.
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