Over 700 victims.
At least 380 perpetrators.
A devastaing investigation published in two of Texas’ highest respected newspapers, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express News give an account of various sexual abuse cases in churches which are part of the Southern Baptist Convention. The first part of the report is here, and a summary can be read here, courtesy of the good folks of RELEVANT Magazine.
Even though it is clear that every Baptist church is autonomous and independent, the report shows clearly that denominacional leadership did not take appropriate measures to limit or stop the abuse; on the contrary, they mostly helped to cover-up cases.
This cover-up culture is harming the church. My friend and brother in Christ Ed Hurst coined a maxim which is pure truth: “Mankind is fallen. Sinners will sin.” Indeed. Shameful deeds could happen in any church; such is the lot of fallen human nature. But, as stewards of Christ’s sheep, churches and their leadership must not tolerate any of such cases and must take all necessary steps to stop and prevent such abuse from happening.
Even more so, the church must be transparent. God chose us from the weak and the foolish and the despised in the world (1 Corinthians 1:26-29), and we must be frank in acknowledging our faults.
This shows us that we are not immune to any sin. Given our depraved nature, no sin is out of bounds. The question is how we shall act when it happens. I hope we learn the lesson.