Grant Gaines, pastor of BellAire Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn., presented the following motion, which was overwhelmingly approved by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2021 annual meeting in Nashville:
I move that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 15-16, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn., ask the newly elected president of the SBC to appoint a task force within 30 days of the date of this convention that shall be comprised of members of Baptist churches cooperating with this convention and experts in sexual abuse and the handling of sexual abuse-related dynamics. This task force shall either assume oversight of the third-party review announced previously by the Executive Committee or initiate a separate third-party review. Said task force shall ensure that the third-party review includes an investigation into any allegations of abuse, mishandling of abuse, mistreatment of victims, a pattern of intimidation of victims or advocates, and resistance to sexual abuse reform initiatives. The investigation shall include actions and decisions of staff and members of the Executive Committee from Jan. 1, 2000 to June 14, 2021. This investigation should include an audit of the procedures and actions taken by the Credentials Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, which was formed at the convention meeting in Birmingham, Ala., June 11-12, 2019. The review shall be funded by allocations from the Cooperative Program.
We further move that the task force agree to the accepted best standards and practices as recommended by the commissioned third-party, including but not limited to the Executive Committee staff and members waiving attorney-client privilege in order to ensure full access to information and accuracy in the review. A written report on the factual findings of this review shall be presented to the task force 30 days prior to the SBC annual meeting in 2022, and made public in full form within one week of the task force’s receipt of the report, along with suggestions from the task force for actions to be taken by our convention.