Last year, thousands of delegates at the national SBC gathering made clear they did not want the Executive Committee to oversee an investigation of its own actions. Instead they voted overwhelmingly to create the task force charged with overseeing the third-party review. Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama, appointed the panel.
The report offers shocking details on how Johnny Hunt, a Georgia-based pastor and past SBC president, sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife during a beach vacation in 2010...
Among those reacting strongly to the Guidepost report was Russell Moore, who formerly headed the SBC’s public policy wing but left the denomination after accusing top Executive Committee leaders of stalling efforts to address the sex abuse crisis.
“Crisis is too small a word. It is an apocalypse,” Moore wrote for Christianity Today after reading the report. ”As dark a view as I had of the SBC Executive Committee, the investigation uncovers a reality far more evil and systemic than I imagined it could be...”
“I view this investigative report as a beginning, not an end. The work will continue,” Brown said. “But no one should ever forget the human cost of what it has taken to even get the SBC to approach this starting line of beginning to deal with clergy sex abuse.”
One thing about the Southern Baptists is that they've continued to be fiercely democratic. Their "congregational polity," i.e., rule at the level of the individual congregation, not from headquarters by "leadership," has always been essential to their identity almost as much as their belief in Jesus.
So, the national leadership offered to get to the bottom of the scandal but the elected delegates to the national Convention said, in effect, "Up yours!" so the everydayers used their power to empower a third-party investigation which is ugly for denominational big-timers.
The Catholics let their Pope and Cardinals handle their mess and the mess expanded exponentially and many lives were damaged. That, at least, won't happen with the Baptists.
What happens next is to be determined. Will there be church discipline?, criminal charges where appropriate?, civil settlements?