Southern Baptists won’t tolerate abuse, racism

June 28, 2019

In a moving moment during this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting, SBC President J.D. Greear invited victims of sexual abuse to stand as he and others led in a prayer of lament, repentance and sorrow over the instances of abuse that have taken place within our convention.

As many women and men stood courageously, a spirit of brokenness and repentance filled the arena of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center. One day earlier, messengers in attendance overwhelmingly approved proposed changes to the SBC’s constitution and bylaws that would deem sexual abuse and racial discrimination as grounds for a church to be declared not in friendly cooperation with our convention.

In Birmingham, Southern Baptists took a strong stand and made a definitive statement that said to the world that we are not going to tolerate any form of abuse or racism. While we acknowledge what has taken place and repent over what has happened, we are not going to let it continue. Southern Baptists, the greater Christian community and the world at large has a right to expect and demand better from individuals in leadership positions. Most importantly, Scripture demands we take these actions.

I’m thankful for the work of the Sexual Abuse Advisory Group that was appointed by President Greear last year. The group, along with the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has developed a resource titled “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused” that is now available to every church at no cost. You can access the resource at churchcares.com.

During this year’s meeting, SBC leaders encouraged every church to take the “Caring Well Challenge” by committing to work through the resource as a church. You can learn more at caringwell.com. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina also has dedicated resources to assist our local churches to recognize, report and respond to cases of abuse. You can learn more about these resources by contacting state convention staff member Cheryl Markland at [email protected].

Southern Baptists, the greater Christian community and the world at large has a right to expect and demand better from individuals in leadership positions.

As President Greear noted, issues of abuse and racism are gospel issues and aligned well with this year’s meeting theme of “Gospel Above All.” Our Lord Jesus Christ cared for the weak and the vulnerable, and He warned against those who would cause them to stumble. Every single person possesses infinite worth because they are made in the image of God. There is no place for discrimination on the basis of gender or ethnicity within the body of Christ. Also, we must do all that we can do to equip and encourage our brothers and sisters to serve the Lord in places of leadership that are affirmed by Scripture.

Among the highlights of the SBC annual meeting for me each year are the reports from the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB). NAMB reported on progress being in church planting and baptisms in some challenging places for ministry. Once again, the IMB, under the leadership of the new president, Dr. Paul Chitwood, held a moving celebration for missionaries who are being commissioned and sent to the mission field. These things remind us as Southern Baptists of our commitment to get the gospel to the nations.

Although I am deeply troubled that the number of baptisms showed another year of decline across the SBC, I celebrate every new convert who has come to faith in Christ. I pray that every Southern Baptist will wake up to the condition of lostness in our state and nation and prioritize personal evangelism and discipling new believers.

As our convention continues to emphasize the “Who’s Your One?” evangelism initiative, I challenge every North Carolina Baptist to begin praying for, spending time with and having gospel conversations with someone they know who does not know Christ.

During the NAMB report, Johnny Hunt shared that if just 10 percent of all Southern Baptists led one person to Christ in the next year, we would see the highest number of baptisms in the history of the SBC.

May we all prioritize our lives so that the gospel is supremely above all we do.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (ESV)


by Milton A. Hollifield Jr.  
/  Executive Director-Treasurer  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

6 ways to be a generous leader during the holidays

The holiday season is upon us. It is a time rooted in generosity, from God providing a bountiful harvest for the Pilgrims and Native Americans to God gifting us with His one and only Son. We celebrate because of the great gifts God has bestowed on us. Of course, the holiday season...

Will you pray and go?

I don’t remember much about that day, but one thing I do remember: it was hot — really hot. The temperature in Newton was near 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day. But we had committed to walk our neighborhood and pray for divine appointments. This was the third time in three weeks we...

A Christmas resource with families in mind

Why did Jesus need to come to Earth? This is just one of the thought-provoking questions included in the Advent family devotional surrounding the coming of Christ to the world. “Advent” means coming or arrival, and Family Advent Devotions, developed by the Faith at Home ministry...

California man comes cross country to plant multiethnic church in NC

Is God behind the North Carolina Baptist effort to plant new churches across the state? Gary Lee says yes. He says God called him from California to plant a new church in Raleigh. In fact, Lee is one of many church planters who have been called from other states and nations to...

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering exemplifies our work

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) has supported missionaries to the unreached since 1888. Currently, Southern Baptists can celebrate having 3,640 missionaries serve and share the hope of Christ in the least-reached places across the world with the International Mission...

Hollifield exhorts NC Baptists to prioritize God, gospel & disciple-making

In his final address to messengers as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), Milton A. Hollifield Jr. challenged N.C. Baptists to devote themselves to the Lord and continue working together to fulfill the Great Commission....

4 keys to creating a spiritually vibrant home

The most-asked question I hear from parents is, “How do we raise kids who will love Jesus in adulthood?” One mom in our church phrased it like this, “What is the secret sauce for raising kids who love Jesus?” In our culture today, these are valid questions, and God left the...

Baptist Children’s Homes offer eternal hope to hurting families

One of the ministries in our state that tugs at my heartstrings is the Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) of North Carolina. I’m thankful for the long and rich partnership between Baptist Children’s Homes and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. North Carolina Baptists have...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!