The Southern Baptist Convention is holding its annual meeting this week and church leaders are tackling issues like sexual abuse and discrimination.
Former SBC President and CEO of the Executive Committee Dr. Ronnie Floyd said Tuesday that a “major reset” is needed for Southern Baptists to move forward.
Delegates voted Tuesday to make it easier to expel churches that mishandle abuse cases.
Floyd also urged church leaders to adopt a constitutional amendment that would allow the denomination to form a committee called the “Standing Credentials Committee” which will fight sexual abuse, among other issues.
“The Southern Baptist Convention does stand against all forms and actions of sexual abuse, viewing it as a horrific evil. As Southern Baptists, we must address this comprehensively and correctly,” said Floyd.
“Unquestionably and undoubtedly, we must make a clear, compassionate, convictional, and compelling statement about this issue in every way we can.”
The president said the committee would also combat false accusations.
“Besides holding our standards of relationship high, we also believe the existence of this Standing Credentials Committee would reduce the possibility that any of our cooperating churches would be slandered or falsely accused on the floor of our Southern Baptist Convention in session,” he said.
On the Saturday before the conference, the Southern Baptist sexual abuse task force released a report detailing the many failures of the convention. It acknowledged that guilty pastors often times groom their victims by leveraging their spiritual authority.
The panel Wednesday night is expected to address a racism amendment that would allow the removal of a church that affirms, approves or endorses racial or ethnic discrimination.
SBC President J.D. Greer said Sunday that churches that historically discriminated against African-Americans had “forgotten the Gospel.”
“You see, the Gospel teaches us that there’s only one kind of person: human,” Greear said according to Baptist Press. “We all got one common problem: sin. We only have one hope: the blood of Jesus. And that means all people — red and yellow, black and white — all alike are precious in His sight because all are afflicted with the same problem; all require the same solution.”
“It is only by renewing ourselves in the Gospel,” he said, “can we purify ourselves of the racial bias and blindness to injustice that continues to afflict us.”