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Is J.D. Greear just talking, or are we going to see action?

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commision’s Caring Well Conference is currently underway.

Robert Downen, reporter from the Houston Chronicle, posted the following tweet. You may recall The Houston Chronicles’ series of articles on the sexual abuse cover-ups within the Southern Baptist Convention churches. This tweet is significant in that SBC President J.D. Greear mentions the names of survivors/advocates who were not invited to speak at the conference (ie, Jules Woodson, Christa Brown, etc.). See Dee’s post at The Wartburg Watch blog for more background on “designated survivors.”

The SBC has been getting push back about selecting “designated survivors” to speak. Was he doing damage control by mentioning the names of the survivors/advocates they chose not to speak? Were the ones chosen to speak selected so that the SBC can control the narrative?

22 thoughts on “Is J.D. Greear just talking, or are we going to see action?”

  1. I fully appreciate how a conservative evangelical establishment can attempt to cover up abuse that has come to light. I was shocked at this happening amongst evangelical Anglicans in the UK, a constituency I am familiar with. The abuse was homsexual in nature, but in this instance not illegal (minors were not involved). Yet the establishment has strong-armed vicitms of this into silence. It appears well-known evangelical names might have known what was going on and did nothing over years, possibly going right to the top. (Source: Anglican Unscripted.)

    In the Amercian baptist case you are querying, might it not be better to wait and see how it all pans out, what action is actually undertaken or not undertaken? Rather than damage limitation (I agree this is plausible and some scepticism understandable in view of the past record of churches) might it be a fear of instant and partisan criticism is making the powers at be there wary and cautious?

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  2. KAS said: “In the Amercian baptist case you are querying, might it not be better to wait and see how it all pans out, what action is actually undertaken or not undertaken? Rather than damage limitation (I agree this is plausible and some scepticism understandable in view of the past record of churches) might it be a fear of instant and partisan criticism is making the powers at be there wary and cautious?”

    Nope – they have chronically failed survivors for decades covering up sexual abuse cases and covering for pedophiles and abusers. Puh-lease. Don’t even go there, KAS.

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  3. Nope – they have chronically failed survivors for decades

    Indeed. We are way past wait and see, imo.

    We already waited. We already saw. Now it’s just a question of if they can fix themselves, and fix the future.

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  4. Honest answer: I don’t trust Greear as far as I could throw him (idiom). I don’t believe he is sincere. It is my opinion that he doesn’t “get it” and is, thus, trying to placate. I wasn’t aware of how widespread (or how common) abuse is in the SBC truly is until reading the Houston Chronicle. This is in large part to not being a Southern Baptist or an American Evangelical. What I read in the very first Houston Chronicle article, of the series, so animated me – and every other decent human being – that I see Greear’s non-action as pure, unimaginable apathy. I am happy he actually named some of the victims who have been shunned for years on end; but that doesn’t change anything. I grew up in a healthy church environment, and what I see now is the continuance of an unhealthy, abhorrent pattern of fleecing the lambs that belong to Christ.

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  5. JA: I really hope that I am wrong. But this is a PR stunt by the SBC. IMO the SBC pastors, etc. are hard-wired to not view women as equal to men. Who were the women to share their sexual abuse over the years in the SBC-men? That is just wrong.

    All the SBC is doing is talking-talking and hoping to make folks think they are doing something. i’ve seen this “movie” by the SBC many times over the last decades.

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  6. KAS,

    Rather than damage limitation… might it be a fear of instant and partisan criticism is making the powers at be there wary and cautious?

    So, in other words, they’re being motivated by fear of man, rather than by fear of God and concern for children. Are we supposed to find that impressive?

    Just so we’re clear, KAS, what kind of “partisan criticism” do you have in mind? Do you mean criticism from victims of abuse and their advocates, or from some within their own party (such as the Founders)?

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  7. And, now that I’ve officially taken part in the conversation, I’d like to seek some prayer support.

    For the past six years, my mother has been battling cancer. Although she enjoyed a good period of remission, the disease came back last year, and in September she made the choice to stop fighting it. She’s been in hospice care for the past week or so, and on Thursday I heard from my Dad that she’s not likely to last much longer. I’ve seen her over video chat, and Mom is barely responsive.

    Family have talked me out of rushing home. It’s unlikely I’d make it before she passes on, and they won’t be holding the funeral until next summer. It’s hard being away from everyone during this time, but I’m taking time off work, and I plan to get in touch and spend time with friends here in Japan. Any prayers that folks can spare for me and my family would be greatly appreciated.

    Apologies for the off-topic post. Thanks to all for your patience.

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  8. Serving Kids – I’m so sorry for the heaviness placed on you and your family right now. It sounds difficult for you to be so far away. Wishing you peace and mercy when you need it most.

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  9. I so badly want to believe in the best of intentions by the SBC leadership….but it’s too difficult to get there. They’ve had so many years and opportunities to make things right.

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  10. Serving Kids – I sorry to hear of your impending loss. We all have to face this, but when it comes it still hurts inside. I don’t think ‘sparing a prayer’ is in question – praying for one another is what Christian faith and fellowship is really all about, and I suspect for many here you didn’t really need to ask. (And on a personal note, I have not forgotten the kindness you showed me.)

    I hope God – the love that will not let you go – will comfort you, and that you will not feel guilty either now or in the future that you weren’t able to get home.

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  11. Thanks to everyone for your words of support.

    I’m not feeling so much guilt — apart from being this helpless and unable to do a thing for Mom. Dad and everyone convinced me that there’s not much point in disrupting my life and work. Mostly, I’m just worn out and lonely. It would have been nice to grieve with family, but I’ll just have to lean on friends here for the time being. I’m part of a small group at a local church, and they’ve been very supportive throughout this whole ordeal. I’ll try to find others to turn to as well.

    Again, many thanks to all.

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  12. SKIJ, “So, in other words, they’re being motivated by fear of man, rather than by fear of God and concern for children. Are we supposed to find that impressive?”

    I think you hit the nail on the head. When they are among their peers who care nothing about women, they ignore and walk past the victims. When they are at victims conferences, they are conciliatory and seeming to want to give the victims a voice.

    If the SBC is having a change of heart, it needs to happen when all the pastors are together deciding on the future of the church, not at a conference about caring for victims. In fact, this seems right on par with what is happening.

    My former church has supposedly been under pressure about their patriarchal stance, and they’ve published articles talking about how wonderful the church is towards women. Yet at the same time, there were enough upset with groups within the church teaching that “physical abuse is grounds for divorce” that it was made a national issue, and not just to be dismissed, but it has been studied and the result was to make no formal decision on the matter. (Of note is that it was about 64% agreeing to take no action and about 36% wanting the denomination to take an official stand that abuse is NOT grounds for divorce. Wonderful, indeed.

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  13. “Is J.D. Greear just talking, or are we going to see action?”

    The short answer is “No”. J.D. Greear isn’t in his position to take constructive action.

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  14. SKIJ,
    So sorry to learn of your sorrow concerning your Mom. I will join the others here in praying for you and your family as well. You have been a beacon of light here on SSB and am grateful for your wisdom and work for our LORD Jesus. Please do take good care of yourself as you mourn and genuflect upon the past.

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  15. If Greear doesn’t want to see action, he made a serious mistake by inviting Boz and Rachael to speak. Those two, along with others in the speakers’ list, are not exactly wilting violets, no? With Greear’s help or not, Hell will be raised, and that is a good thing.

    If you look at the full list, what you’ll see is a number of people whose “soapboxes” vary from one issue to the other, so what’s really at hand is that the organizers, Greear included, are exposing SBC leaders (and others who tune in) to a range of issues where the organizers believe many/most SBC churches have been dropping the ball. There could be some “politics” in selecting speakers (and rejecting others, or not inviting others), but all in all, the very existence of the conference is a huge step forward for the SBC.

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