The Georgia Baptist Convention met in Dacula, Georgia November 11-12. Without edit or opposition,1 Georgia Baptists passed the resolution I submitted to the resolutions committee for consideration in September of this year, a resolution almost identical to the resolution passed by the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention back in June.2
In addition, Kentucky Baptists adopted a very similar resolution submitted by Kentucky pastor, Jon Carter. Dr. Rick Patrick, pastor of First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, Alabama proposed a resolution on the sexual abuse of children which Alabama Baptists also passed (some edits by the resolutions committee were applied).
We hope the thrust for the protection of children will continue and ultimately spawn conversation toward developing workable, visible policies of child protection against sexual predators for Southern Baptists as a denomination, policies consistent, of course, with our local church autonomy tradition.
Below is the resolution as passed on November 12, 2013 by Georgia Baptists:
RESOLUTION ON SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN
submitted by Peter Lumpkins to be considered for adoption at
The 2013 Georgia Baptist Convention, November 11-12,
Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, Georgia
WHEREAS, The Bible is clear in its affirmation that children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3–5); and
WHEREAS, The Lord Jesus demonstrated His love for children by encouraging them to follow Him, correcting those who hindered them, and condemning those who harmed them (Matthew 18:3–6; Mark 10:13–14); and
WHEREAS, The sexual abuse of children remains an ever-increasing criminal offense with more than 1.8 million reported victims of sexual abuse by more than 750,000 child abuse perpetrators identified in the United States alone; and
WHEREAS, Tragically, instances of sexual abuse have been perpetrated within Southern Baptist congregations, churches of other denominations, and other Christian ministries; and
WHEREAS, The 2013 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas considered and adopted a similar resolution supporting victims of child abuse, both recognizing the abuse of children as a potential threat within Christian congregations and urging all Southern Baptists to perpetuate a culture of protection within our respective children’s ministries; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention meeting in Dacula, Georgia, November 11–12, 2013, call upon all Georgia Baptists to stand with our Lord Jesus in loving and protecting children as He does; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we remind all Georgia Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report any accusations of child abuse to authorities in addition to implementing any appropriate church discipline or internal restoration processes; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we likewise call upon all Georgia Baptists to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in exposing and bringing to justice all perpetrators, sexual or otherwise, who criminally harm children placed in our trust; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we strongly urge Georgia Baptist churches to utilize background checks like those provided through LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com/backgroundchecks), databases of sexual predators such as the US Department of Justice sex offender database linked at SBC.net (www.SBC.net/localchurches/ministryhelp.asp), or other relevant resources in screening all potential staff and volunteer workers, particularly those who minister to children and youth; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors and church leaders to develop and implement sound policies and procedures to protect our children; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Georgia Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we urge all Georgia Baptists to pray for children who are victims of abuse, to stand for their protection from abuse, and to support safe and healthy children’s ministries in our churches and communities.
1while the content remains the same, two paragraphs switched positions in the resolution presented to the GBC
2my initial submission to be considered at the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention was significantly edited by the SBC resolutions committee. From the convention floor I challenged the committee's deletion of a significant paragraph in the resolution pertaining to denominational employees, a challenge the messengers upheld. Hence the next to last paragraph above was reinserted into the final document and was adopted by the messengers.