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Response to the Sexual Abuse Task Force Report

As you are well aware, in fact it is nearly non-ignorable, the Sexual Abuse Task Force report from Guidepost Solution came out this past Sunday.  Like so many of you, I have read through a great portion of the report as well as the many responses it has evoked.  My heart grieves.  I grieve for the victims of abuse who have had to endure a systemic response of being stonewalled and sideline with their cries for help and justice.  I grieve that the cause of Christ has been severely damaged as yet another denomination has been guilty of trying to cover up evil rather that expose it. I grieve for the trust that has been broken and it will be a hard and long road to rebuild.  I grieve for the painful consequences that the erosion of trust brings which will greatly affect our cooperative effort to advance the gospel.  I have heard it said that a reputation takes years to build and only minutes to destroy. Even with a true, genuine, and appropriate response it will take a great amount of time to reestablish the confidence in our leadership that has been lost.  But we owe it to the victims, to the advancement of the gospel, and for glory of God to work together to respond in the right way, in the right time, and with the right spirit. This is a time for prayer, for repentance, and for resolute determination to right the wrong, and put in place measures to prevent this from ever happening again.  I appreciate the many recommendations contained in the report to help our SBC family respond properly and address the issue of abuse with wisdom and diligence.  We will certainly be mindful of how our association of churches can be a part of the solution moving forward.  I know many of you have already been praying and I would simply ask that you continue to lift up our SBC leaders to the Lord, as well as the upcoming annual convention in Anaheim, California.  Pray that we may we be found doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God. – Dr. Gary Mathes