Top 10 SBC Offenses This Year
By Cheryl Summers, Rally Founder -- In honor of #VirtualRally2020, I compiled a list of Top 10 SBC Offenses that have occurred since last year's rally. There are signs of hope - for sure.
I am hopeful because the SBC has failed to keep advocates marginalized and silenced. In fact, the voices that have been calling out for two decades (or more) have been joined with hundreds of others thanks to social media. We cannot be ignored.
I am hopeful because initial steps have been made to formalized training regarding sexual abuse, domestic abuse and sexual assault through the Caring Well training protocol. That hope is tempered with concerns outlined by Jimmy Hinton about Caring Well along with the fact that there's no ability to track and know what churches are utilizing the training materials.
I am most hopeful about the creation of a Baptist predator database BaptistAccountability.org. Megan and Dominque Benninger researched and created this database. We're calling on concerned people everywhere to visit the database site and submit any confessed, convicted or credibly accused predators. In addition, there is space to report anyone who has covered up abuse. The Benningers have done this right, and have provided mechanisms for those reporting to provide corroborating documentation. To date, they've amassed a database of over 400 predators with new names being added all the time. We'd love to see the Rally help get them up over the 500 name mark!
Now for our 10 Ten List:
The headlines that ran last week (April 24) announced a new sexual abuse scandal to roil the Southern Baptist Convention: “Cedarville professor fired over allegations of misconduct.” That’s true, to be sure. But that’s not the headline. The headline is that Cedarville University, a Baptist school near Dayton, Ohio, knowingly hired a man its president knew to be an alleged sexual offender as a student recruiter, then gave him a job coaching men’s basketball, teaching in the theology department and as a “special adviser” to the president.
2. Missouri Baptist Convention nominates and appoints to the Southwest Baptist University board of trustees a trustee and pastor who was at the center of mishandling abuse at First Baptist Church - Greenwood where the music minister was convicted of 20+ counts of abusing young boys. We published an earlier blog detailing this sad situation.
3. SBC abuse survivor, Jules Woodson, contacts the Germantown Baptist Church who ordained her abuser and asks them to revoke his ordination. They ignore her and refuse to take action .
4. Wes Feltner, a known abuser, manages to become the top pick for senior pastor at FBC Clarksville, TN without anyone fully realizing his history. When FBC Clarksville rescinds the offer, and Wes simply starts up his own church - not before being caught by his current employer, Berean Baptist, for financial misconduct.
5. The ERLC appoints their own in-house lawyer to head up Caring Well activities and responding to sexual abuse. His professional duty is protection of institution, NOT protection of kids.
6. J.D. Greear's church, The Summit, hires Bryan Loritts as executive pastor, someone who is said to have covered up for a family member who abused at a Memphis area church
7. Darrell Gilyard, a man who is currently a registered sex offender, returns to the pulpit at Mount Ararat Baptist Church. Although Darrell's current employer is not an SBC church, we hear nothing from SBC leadership condeminng this action.
8. Paige Patterson is invited by Pastor Timothy Pigg to speak at a Florida SBC church. You can't make this stuff up. There are some many possible pig jokes or male chauvinist jokes here. We will restrain ourselves. Also on the agenda were Dorothy Patterson (who must have been speaking only to the women) along with Scott Colter, Patterson's assistant whose wife acted deplorably toward a rape survivor in 2018.
9. The SBC Executive Committee under the leadership of Mike Stone bullied Pastor David Uth of FBC Orlando until he dis-invited Hannah Wong - simply because she was a woman. This according to Wade Burleson's account. Uth also resigned as President of the Pastors' Conference as a result of this dust-up.
Side-note on FBC Orlando: The pastor documented to have sexually abused Christa Brown when she was a child, Tom Gilmore, is an active, respected member of FBC-Orlando. Have the congregants been told? Abuser, Tom Gilmore appears on this list of those teaching "Financial Peace" for First Baptist Orlando. He also seems to be a published author on FBC's blog.
10. Paige Patterson and his cronies, the Colters, form the Conservative Baptist Network whose website says that they reject social justice as "unbiblical." A press release from this group said that "many fear that these issues [social justice] have received more attention than evangelism and spiritual renewal." Well, Paige, it is difficult to focus on spiritual renewal when we have clergy and church volunteers continuing to abuse, ignore abuse, cover up abuse and then face no consequences. In fact, many of the offenders end up rising through the ranks in the SBC (see Cedarville and Southwest Baptist University examples above).
This is why we rally. There still remains much, much to be done.
In June 2021, the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention will be held in Nashville, TN. As many of you know, Nashville is the home of the SBC headquarters as well as SBC entities like Lifeway. We'll be taking the rally to their front door. Get ready!
See you in Nashville!
For Such A Time As This Rally Founder