Pastors fear impact of Southern Baptist sex abuse scandal

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May 31 – HIGH POINT – The sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Southern Baptist Convention in recent days should prompt leaders within the denomination – and within individual churches – to take a closer look at the issue, pastors say local.

“It is overwhelming and I am deeply concerned about the results,” said Reverend Steve Livengood, senior pastor of Abbotts Creek Missionary Baptist Church, one of more than 30 High Point churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Sexual abuse should afflict us all, and it should afflict us that the name of Christ be hurt. I think we need to look carefully at the recommendations to determine how we can ensure that every church is a safe place for every woman, man , girl and boy to come and worship our Lord.”

In an independent report released on May 22, explosive details painted a picture of how SBC leaders had perpetuated a cycle of sexual abuse within the denomination – the largest Protestant denomination in the country – by ignoring reports abuse, rejecting calls for reform and downplaying the crisis.

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The nearly 300-page report also stated that the leaders’ internal goal was almost always to “protect the SBC from legal liability and not to care for survivors or create a plan to prevent sexual abuse within SBC churches.” “.

On Thursday, the SBC released a 205-page list of accused ministers, the abuses they were accused of and the results of their trial in the court system. The SBC described the publication of the previously secret list as “a first, but important step towards combating the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing Convention reform”.

Many observers have compared the SBC crisis to the sex abuse crisis that rocked the Roman Catholic Church, and the impact on the Church could be just as damaging, they say.

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“Cursed is the word,” said Jim Summey, pastor of English Road Baptist Church, another SBC-affiliated congregation. “It’s very overwhelming.”

According to Summey, the SBC’s efforts to downplay the crisis make it even worse, especially in light of the denomination’s arch-conservative theology.

“People will look at this and say, ‘You condemn everything, but oh, you have a double standard – if it’s one of yours, it’s different,'” he said. “It’s like a cop’s son getting caught with marijuana – there’s a way for him to get out of this because he’s a cop’s son.”

Livengood agreed.

“It’s definitely going to have a negative impact on the church,” he said. “Unbelievers, in particular, always look at those who believe in Christ and how we live, and if we don’t live in a biblical way, it’s bad for the name of the church and bad for the name of Christ. “

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The list of defendants, which SBC leaders posted on the denomination’s website, features several names from North Carolina, including two High Point cases:

—In 2007, Todd Turner Brock, the pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church, was sentenced to 10 to 12 months in prison after he admitted trying to induce a 17-year-old boy to make a video depicting sexual acts and sent the boy a vulgar photo. He resigned from the church before his arrest.

—In 2008, Guy Ellis Carr Jr., a deacon at Emerywood Baptist Church, was sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to eight counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. The charges relate to a series of sexual assaults he carried out in the 1970s against a girl from the age of 4 or 5 until she was around 12 years old.

The High Point Enterprise reported on these two cases when they occurred.

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