Dear North Carolina Baptists,
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. Our cooperative mission efforts depend on your continued trust and participation.
I have received questions and comments from church leaders across North Carolina related to recent actions by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. Like many of you, I am deeply concerned and disheartened by what I have observed in recent weeks.
Messengers to the 2021 SBC annual meeting voted to launch a third-party investigation of the SBC Executive Committee 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 motion approved overwhelmingly by messengers instructed the SBC president to name a task force to oversee the investigation. That nine-member task force is led by N.C. Baptist pastor Bruce Frank, who has demonstrated godly and courageous leadership under difficult circumstances.
Messengers affirmed clear stipulations in the directive that were meant to ensure a thorough investigation resulting in a public report, free from interference. The sex abuse task force has provided an FAQ document if you want to learn more.
To date the SBC Executive Committee has not agreed to follow the expressed will of the messengers. This resistance has damaged trust within our family of churches, and far worse, has devastated survivors of sexual abuse. These vulnerable men and women deserve the full truth. We grieve with them and pray for justice.
You may be wondering how to respond. Many of you have asked about your giving to N.C. Baptists and specifically if you can negatively designate against an SBC entity. N.C. Baptists are a movement of churches on mission together meaning we believe we exist for the local church — God’s plan “A.” While we think negative designation is a blunt tool only used as a last resort, if your congregation feels led to do so, your N.C. Baptist staff stand ready to serve you.
Pray for comfort and peace for victims of sexual abuse. Pray for boldness and wisdom for SBC Executive Committee members, especially those from North Carolina. Pray for the Sex Abuse Task Force chairman, Bruce Frank, as he continues to lead.
We are a movement of churches on mission together. The enemy wants to keep us in sin and isolation, but we know how the story ends. We will join multitudes around the throne of God from every tribe and tongue, saying “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!” Our hope is sure. May we all seek justice for the afflicted, fight for unity and march onward with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On Mission Together,
Baptist State Convention of North Carolina