Initial Thoughts on the Houston Chronicle Article on SBC Sexual Abuse Issue

Here is a link to article 1 of 3. 1 of 3. There are 2 more coming out. God have mercy!

Houston Chronicle Article

I had to get this out of my soul or I may burst open in a prophetic tirade.

As my wife and I reflected on the article and the myriads of sexual misconduct and the seeming cover ups and hushes to keep it quiet, I’m bothered by many things, but one thing initially comes to mind. I’m sure other things should come to mind, but this is what Jennifer and I talked about as we rushed out the door to work and getting the boys off to school.

I’m bothered that if one’s organizational structure has women in the wrong place or their doctrine leans “reformed” there are systems in place to keep those folks out of the network or properly marginalized, but if there is some sort of sexual misconduct, that seems to be acceptable and a situation where we show “grace” and seek restoration and don’t seem to know how to infringe on the local church’s autonomy. The victim and the law seem to actually take a back seat.

Why can we root out “Calvinists” or “women in ministry” people and let sexual misconduct remain?

My hunch is that its group think, good old boy networks, power, greed and financial stability (those last two go hand in hand).

It’s not hard to see. If one simply watches the fraternities that even form in social networks, we prop each other up and promote each other’s books or strategies or organizations based on some “laws” or “metrics” we consider to be superior to other’s “laws” or “metrics”. What about holiness? What about integrity? As long as the numbers are big, the success is corporate level, the money flowing to the right place hits the “benchmark” the sin can be ignored.

As a convention (SBC) we value autonomy over doctrinal integrity, social integrity, and missional integrity. We value one’s perceived star status over righteousness, and we refuse to learn metrics that God counts rather than corporate metrics.

Here are some metrics God counts. It’s just one instance in the Manual:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV) There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

The truth of the matter is that we are not far from what Peter wrote here:

1 Peter 4:12-10 (ESV) Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

We may be, as a denomination, about to experience God’s purging and pruning. Good!

Perhaps we consider greater accountability to a central standard of doctrine and practice while allowing us to infringe on each other’s charity while not infringing on each other’s conscience for the sake of real unity and real strength and real effectiveness. That likely means losing some, but what remains would be better for it. Will that be hard? Yes. It is hard. If it were easy, everybody would have done it already. We are mostly creatures who act like rivers…take the easiest path to the sea. We don’t want to cut through the hard rock issues. We skirt around those.

Nothing in Scripture values autonomy over accountability.

Accountability > autonomy.

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