SBC official says increasing scope of sex abuse investigation would be ‘horrific’

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee shot down a motion Monday that sought to expand the scope of a recently commissioned independent investigation into allegations SBC leaders mishandled a “crisis of sexual abuse” in the denomination with one official declaring the move would be “horrific.”

On Monday, the SBC’s Executive Committee rejected the motion filed by Texas pastor Jared Wellman to create a task force independent of the committee to oversee the Guidepost Solutions’ investigation commissioned last week by the Executive Committee.

The investigation aims to examine how the committee’s leaders handled allegations of sex abuse within the denomination.   

“No one in the Southern Baptist Convention is in anyway in favor of any sort of child abuse or anything like that. It’s hideous to even contemplate that,” Executive Committee Secretary Joe Knott of North Carolina, a lawyer, said in response to Wellman, according to Houston Chronicle reporter Robert Downen.

“But … to hire a third party professional investigatory organization who does this for profit and give them essentially unlimited power to interview anyone in the Southern Baptist Convention is, uh, just a horrific thing.”

The SBC Executive Committee announced on June 11 that Guidepost Solutions would review recent allegations made by the former leader of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Russell Moore, that SBC leaders intimidated whistleblowers and exonerated churches with credible claims of negligence of sexual abuse victims.

Guidepost Solutions was also commissioned to “review and enhance training provided to SBC Executive Committee staff and its board of trustees” as it relates to sex abuse and the organization’s “communications to cooperating churches and congregants in cooperating churches.”

“The SBC Executive Committee commits to providing full support and transparency to Guidepost Solutions, including making individuals available for interviews and providing relevant documents,” the committee wrote.

“Guidepost Solutions will assist the SBC Executive Committee in its commitment to Christ-like behavior and develop policies and systems to better equip the SBC Executive Committee staff and Board of Trustees to serve the best interests of Southern Baptists with integrity and excellence.”