A grass-roots campaign is pushing for a special resolution on sexual abuse to be adopted at the upcoming meeting of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International next week.
You can find the text of the proposed resolution here. You can add your name to the petition by liking this facebook page. The proposed resolution will be sent to the leadership of the FBFI at the upcoming national meeting in Indiana.
The reason I have added my name to this proposed resolution is not that I agree with the exact wording of the proposed resolution. I don’t. Nor is it that I agree with the spirit of many who campaign on these issues. I don’t. Rather, I believe it is essential to the integrity of the reasonable elements of Fundamentalism that a clear and pointed message be sent both to those within Fundamentalism and to those without.
The Vice Chairman of the FBFI has spent recent months defending himself over multiple allegations of improper handling of sexual abuse. I can’t make a judgement as to whether he did what he is accused of doing, but I want to be crystal clear in my judgement against what he is accused of doing: covering abuse. Covering abuse is evil.
I’m a young man, but I’ve done a few laps around the Fundamentalist circuit both in the USA and in Australia. I’ve observed unspeakable abuses and I’ve observed attempts to cover abuse.
There is no place in Christianity for the toleration or covering of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, especially of children. Jesus could not have been clearer on the point: It would be better to be dead than to take part in this type of harm to children.
One could argue that a resolution is meaningless and accomplishes nothing. This is a typical independent mentality, and there is some validity to it. Still, throughout history, humans have found it beneficial to make clear and careful statements on important issues. What a resolution does accomplish is to confront the evil attitudes toward abuse that seem to be rotting at the heart of even reasonable Fundamentalism.
One could also argue that a proposed FBFI resolution is irrelevant to Australian Fundamentalism. It is not. American Fundamentalism has for decades filled our conference platforms and a majority of our pulpits. Australian Fundamentalism’s approach toward abuse is, if anything, worse than the approach of American Fundamentalism. We have a vested interest in seeing American Fundamentalism do right on this matter.
Finally, one could argue that this is an unnecessarily negative way to go about this. I don’t know that it needs to be. The President/CEO of the FBFI, John Vaughn, is a man I deeply respect as a friend and as my former pastor. The treasurer, Gordon Dickson, is a family friend and a man of great wisdom and integrity. I would like to think that such a resolution may have already been on the cards with men such as this. The reason I’m supporting this campaign is not as an attack or criticism of the FBFI, but rather as an attempt to send a clear, pointed, and positive message to the FBFI: This must be addressed clearly, directly, and forcefully. And it must.
That’s why I’m supporting it.
Grace to you.