What Would Jesus Say

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Timsings, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. Timsings

    Timsings
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    Here is a link to the cover story on this week's Nashville Scene. Since my church is in the midst of a pastor search, the issues raised in this article are of a great concern for us. Are the SBC leaders using the principle of the autonomy of the local church as a screen for dragging their feet (at best) or doing nothing (at worst)? Without some sort of denominational clearinghouse, how are churches seeking pastors to protect themselves from unknowingly hiring sexual predators?

    Tim Reynolds
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    Churches should engage in the lost doctrine of prayer, fasting, and relying on the Holy Ghost instead of merely background checks. The Holy Ghost can let us know who is and is not called without us knowing why. The process has become a human resource event rather than a church recognizing that God has called this man to be the undershepherd of the church.

    Polling the church members to see what they want in a Pastor only serves to exacerbate this problem. Looking for the most "qualified" by mans standards rather than the most unlikely and called by God.
     
  3. sag38

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    To not to do a criminal background check on a potential pastor is to invite trouble. In fact, knowing what we know today, it is criminal. A church should pray and seek God's will and a church should do everything possible to keep people's opinions out of the process. But, a back ground check in no way usurps God's providence. In fact, it could be argued that a revelation of sexual misconduct on a potential candidate's record is God's providence in action. Better to find out before the turkey is called than to find out after he rapes one of our daughters, etc..
     
  4. Magnetic Poles

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    Absolutely right. It is like saying you don't have faith if in addition to praying for your sick child, you don't get them a shot of pennicillin if it would cure what ils them. God gave us brains. Let's not dishonor him by refusing to use them.
     
  5. StefanM

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    The fact is, though, that churches often do not listen to the direction of the Spirit. Nevertheless, it is always beneficial to have a background check of some sort. It's just another tool God can use.

    I do agree with your last paragraph though. I've seen churches ask for a specific number of children before. When I see this I wonder whether pastors of different ethnic backgrounds would even be considered. If they're picky enough to specify the number of children, I'm sure they have a specific ethnicity in mind as well.
     
  6. Joe

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    A portion of the article...

    "In addition to the database, sex abuse victims groups are pushing for the SBC to establish some sort of review board that would hear allegations, determine their credibility and warn churches about predatory preachers—a board that would, in turn, reach out to wounded victims."

    "While the SBC executive committee has reportedly been “studying” the potential for such a database for a good six months or more, there’s little to show that they’ve made progress. Or that they’re giving the database idea—or the wounded victims left to fend for themselves—much consideration at all."

    "In a few months, the SBC committee will report its database study findings to messengers at the next annual meeting in Indianapolis."

    I agree that background checks are a must, along with possibly examining police reports upon any crimes which surface. It would be tragic if a child is victimized when it could have been prevented.
    There is no reason why the SBC can't require training and educate churches within their membership upon how to handle these types of situations. If they refuse, I hope churches take a stand and drop their SBC membership. The SBC needs prayer :praying:
     
    #6 Joe, Feb 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2008
  7. StefanM

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    The SBC has no authority to require anything of the churches. It's just not structured that way.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    I never suggested not to do background checks.
     
  9. StefanM

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    Sorry for the misunderstanding.
     
  10. Joe

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    The SBC has exerted their authority upon total abstinance regarding alcohol consumption.They cite secular studies amongst conducted studis of their own. It's up to them when and for what reasons they choose to exercise that authority.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    A rather misinformed statement.
     
  12. StefanM

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    They cannot force a church to take a stance on that issue. They have issued resolution after resolution, and they have made regulations for their own agencies, but they cannot force a church to do anything.

    The only real exercise of convention power I know is that the SBC refuses to seat messengers from "welcoming and affirming" congregations. Even so, that's it. The church still isn't required to do anything. The SBC has ZERO authority over the local church.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    Actually looking back at it I can see how it would be taken that way. The mistake was mine.
     
  14. Joe

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    http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1173

    SBC Resolutions

    7. On Protecting Children From Abuse.
    June 2007



    WHEREAS, The Bible stresses the protection of and care for children, as evidenced by: its condemnation of the ancient pagan practice of child sacrifice (Leviticus 20:1-7; Ezekiel 16:20-21); its special regard for orphans in the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 24, 26); and the teaching of Jesus, who welcomed and valued little children (Matthew 18:1-5; 19:14); and

    WHEREAS, Faithful Christians throughout history have risen to the defense of children, as seen in the Early Church’s protest of the practice of “child exposure”—in which unwanted infants were abandoned and left to die; the work of nineteenth-century Christians such as Lord Shaftesbury and others, who campaigned against child slavery and enacted child labor laws; and the diligence of those who defend the right to life of unborn children today; and

    WHEREAS, Violent physical and sexual crimes against children have reached alarming levels in our nation, thus showing child abuse to be a leading issue requiring the urgent response of God’s people; and

    WHEREAS, This abuse has occurred too often in churches and homes—which ought to be places of shelter and safety—and it has happened at the hands of family, educators, ordained ministers, and ministry workers—who ought to be trusted persons of authority; and

    WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention in 2002: called Southern Baptists to practice integrity and fidelity to God; urged accountability among spiritual leaders to the highest standards of Christian moral practice; urged seminaries and related educational institutions to emphasize ministerial integrity; encouraged religious bodies to rid their ranks of predatory ministers; called on civil authorities to punish to the fullest extent of the law sexual abuse among clergy and counselors; called on our churches to discipline those guilty of any sexual abuse as well as to cooperate with civil authorities in the prosecution of those cases; urged our churches to offer support, compassion, and biblical counseling to victims and their families; and

    WHEREAS, LifeWay Christian Resources and many state conventions offer extensive resources designed to assist churches in addressing this issue; now, therefore, be
    it

    RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 12-13, 2007, express our deep level of moral outrage and concern at any instance of child victimization; and be it further

    RESOLVED, That we implore Southern Baptist churches to utilize materials from LifeWay Christian Resources and state conventions and other relevant research that help churches prevent child abuse; and be it further

    RESOLVED, That we strongly recommend that Southern Baptist churches and Convention entities respond to any suspicions or allegations of child abuse in a timely and forthright manner; and be it further

    RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptist churches and Convention entities to exercise moral stewardship by observing responsible employment practices, including performing criminal background checks on all ministers, employees, and volunteers; and be it further

    RESOLVED, That we renounce individuals who commit heinous acts against children; and be it further

    RESOLVED, That we renounce individuals, churches, or other religious bodies that cover up, ignore, or otherwise contribute to or condone the abuse of children; and be it finally

    RESOLVED, That we pray for righteousness and justice to prevail in our land and intercede on behalf of victimized children, asking God to heal their deep emotional and physical wounds, grow them into mature and healthy adults, and stop the cycle of abuse from repeating itself in another generation.



    Churches who do not adhere to the beliefs & recommended practices of the SBC should be disfellowshipped.
     
  15. StefanM

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    These are non-binding resolutions.
     
  16. StefanM

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    And, might I add, not a single word in that resolution requires anything. Terms like "urge"are not binding.

    I'm not willing to say that we should disfellowship a small town church that doesn't run background checks on its 30 members/volunteers who have known each other all their lives.
     
  17. Joe

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    Neither am I, so I'm not sure why you cherry pick that portion. This is in relation to the OP, please read the link.

    Similar to any large organization, it is determined on a case by case basis likely only brought fourth due to extreme circumstances.

    My thoughts are posted, so I will let it rest.
     
  18. Timsings

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    I want to point out a couple of things that seem to be overlooked by many who have responded on this thread. The feasibility study mentioned in the article had nothing to do with the SBC trying to force churches to do anything. It had to do with creating a database of convicted and/or confirmed sexual predators among the clergy for the purpose of giving churches a resource that they could draw on for background checks on prospective staff members. The article detailed two cases where denominational leaders and churches continued to support men who had admitted or were convicted of improper sexual conduct. The question is what should the SBC do to help churches keep such things from happening to them? This has nothing to do with violating the principle of church autonomy. Now, can we talk about some constructive ideas? :BangHead:

    Tim Reynolds
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    Why wouldn't the background checks as well as state and federal web sites listing these folks not already be sufficient?
     
  20. rbell

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    Um...I'm for background checks, but SBC churches are autonomous. There is no "SBC should tell these churches to do x." As was said earlier, they aren't set up that way!
     

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