Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton provided an update Tuesday (July 20) on the work of the task force that will review the SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse allegations.
Litton formed the task force in early July in response to a motion passed by messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting calling for an independent third-party review into the Executive Committee’s handling of abuse disclosures, resistance to reforms and treatment of survivors of abuse and their advocates.
The Executive Committee on June 11 announced it had selected Guidepost Solutions to conduct an internal third-party investigation of the committee’s handling of sexual abuse allegations. In a June 14 meeting preceding the SBC Annual Meeting, EC members chose not to discuss external calls for the investigation to be overseen by an outside group, which led messengers to take action from the floor of the convention.
The update on the task force’s work comes amid a backdrop of conversations and pushback continuing to circulate around social media related to his use of others’ sermons without giving public credit. Some are calling for a more extreme response than the apology he initially provided in late June.
Regarding the task force, Litton said he believes messengers want a “transparent and thorough review so that we may know the truth and receive recommendations of how to improve on the way sex abuse cases have been handled,” along with “an audit for the procedures and actions of the newly formed credentials committee.”
‘Committed to truth’
“This group is committed to pursuing God’s guidance and wisdom throughout the task,” Litton said, “to seek the truth, to ensure that voices of survivors are heard and to bring the findings of this review to the SBC, including recommendations that will lead to strong reforms.”
The task force has met once, Litton said, and will send out a press release when members settle on a firm for the independent review and a contract has been signed. At that time, the task force will outline the nature and scope of the review.
The task force will release an update on its work in early 2022, and a full report one month before the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting scheduled for June 14–15, 2022, in Anaheim, California, Litton said.
Ways to pray
He asked Baptists to pray for the process in three specific ways:
- Pray for the task force to have wisdom in the “important decisions they will make.”
- Pray for the third-party firm to have “clarity and wisdom in their investigation.”
- “Finally, pray for our own hearts, that we’ll be prepared to receive the truth, to repent humbly where repentance is needed, to seek out wise counsel for needed reform and be prepared to take the hard steps toward meaningful reform and care.”
Watch Litton’s full announcement here.