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First person: Pastor calls on congregation, others to make decisions with ‘clear, Spirit-led hearts’

Dear Church Family,

Early Monday morning, I read an article published by Christianity Today concerning the handling of abuse by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Monday afternoon, I printed the entire report [of the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force, available here] and managed to wade through the first 50 pages of the 288-page report and to review the other pages.

What I have read angers me, nauseates me and frustrates me beyond my ability to communicate. I can honestly say I had no idea, but this is wrong (Matt. 18:6) and this cannot be tolerated.

In the days ahead, we need as a Convention to implement care for these victims, encourage prosecution where applicable, remove anyone connected to any abuse or cover up and overhaul accountability structures. Page 14 of the “Report” offers 8 key recommendations.

As churches we must do background checks for staff and leaders and heaven help us if we don’t listen to and hear those who have been abused and take appropriate steps to remove offenders and to protect the flock.

‘Time to do what is right’

I do not have a massive following on Facebook or Instagram. I don’t even have a Twitter account. I have been your pastor for almost 19 years and have been a shepherd for over 40 years.

You are a loving, compassionate, missions-minded congregation that is and has been generous in missions and Cooperative Program giving. While I will never be president of the convention, I am, as pastor of this generous, missions-minded congregation, calling for immediate and ongoing action in the Convention.

We are now aware that wrong has been done; now it is time to do what is right, and “It is never the wrong time to do the right thing.” God has done some great work through the SBC, but to think that Jesus needs us or can only work through us is heresy.

For today, please remain calm and pray. In the days ahead, let’s watch what happens and make future decisions with clear, Spirit-led hearts.

By Pastor Roland P. Brown
Golden Springs Baptist Church, Anniston