BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Today, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention called sex abuse within baptist churches a crisis.
J.D. Greear, president of the SBC, was passionate as he addressed the large group of southern baptists who came to Birmingham from across the country came this week.
He urged churches to take an active role combating the abuse.
“we want to be people of integrity," says Pastor Tony Lambert of Southern Baptist Colorado. "We are not perfect and I think our denomination wants to get it right. I think we have a passion to get it right”
Greear read from a report showing 200 cases of sexual abuse within Baptist churches involving 700 victims; men and women. He says they can’t ignore this crisis any longer.
Hall Harvison of Southern Baptist Etowah County feels this is the right approach. ”I appreciate the transparency with our convention," he says. "We are not covering anything up. We admit we are sinners saved by grace.”
Greear listed eight steps he hoped all Baptist churches will follow to try to stop the spread of sexual abuse and to aid the victims. This included making a public statement, creating partnerships, training, and creating screening processes and resources.
”I’m proud of what’s taking place," says Lambert. "We are all in the growth process in all changing and moving forward.”
”Absolutely don’t put in the closet. Don’t put put under the rug. Address it in a biblical way. Let God do the work in our people and in our churches,” Harvison adds.
Critics hit the Southern Baptist Convention, for not acting on these allegations years ago when they were first made. The convention asked for forgiveness, but is saying they won’t say silent or not act now.