Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear has announced he will form a Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group in partnership with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
A release from Greear’s office stated, “This presidential study group will consist of outside experts and Southern Baptist leaders who will advise Greear on issues related to sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and related subjects.”
Greear’s office told Baptist Press the study group’s members will be announced at a later date. It will be a “working study group” with “fluid” membership, including outside experts, denominational leaders and local church pastors, Greear’s office stated.
“The group’s purpose,” according to the release, “will be to consider how Southern Baptists at every level can take discernable action to respond swiftly and compassionately to incidents of abuse, as well as to foster safe environments within churches and institutions. This group will study both how Southern Baptists are currently engaging these issues and develop recommendations in consultation with relevant SBC entities on strategies and resources for ministering to victims and protecting people and churches from predators.”
Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., said, “How we as a convention of churches care for abuse victims and protect against vile predators says something about what we believe about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our churches should be a refuge for the hurting and a safe haven for the oppressed.
“Over the next year, I look forward to hearing from this group and partnering with our churches, state conventions, local associations, seminaries and national entities to determine what we can do to equip churches to minister effectively and stand guard against any who would seek to prey on the vulnerable.”
The study group stems from actions of messengers to this year’s SBC annual meeting in Dallas, according to the release.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press, David Roach