(RNS) — All through deliberations final week on how the Southern Baptist Conference’s Govt Committee would take care of an investigation into its (mis)dealing with of sexual abuse, the committee’s president and CEO, Ronnie Floyd, invoked prayer and fasting in his arsenal of guns to argue in opposition to an absolutely clear inquiry.
There are many examples of prayerful fasting for a purpose, however Floyd, the creator of a 2010 ebook at the energy of prayer and fasting, would most definitely acknowledge the parallel to a second some 2,500 years in the past, when the Jewish scribe Ezra prayed and fasted to persuade the Jewish folks to avoid wasting themselves at a time when their sinful conduct was once threatening their very lifestyles.
In 538 B.C., the Persian king Artaxerxes despatched Ezra to make certain that the conquered Judeans adopted the regulation of God, empowering him with an overly massive stick: Ezra may just order the execution, banishment, imprisonment or confiscation of possessions of somebody who refused to “obey the regulation of your God and the regulation of the king.”
As an alternative of strong-arming the Judeans into repentance, Ezra fasted, prayed and waited for the folks to reply. His tack produced just about unanimous repentance.
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Floyd’s prayer and fasting, however, has satisfied him to do the other and save you the Southern Baptists from repenting, regardless of their religious need to accomplish that.
In June, the delegates on the SBC annual assembly voted overwhelmingly to nominate a job drive to supervise an unbiased third-party investigation into the SBC Govt Committee’s file on coping with sexual abuse within the denomination’s church buildings. The movement, in opposition to the needs of the Govt Committee contributors on level, was once obviously a rebuke to the committee’s repeated makes an attempt to subvert the church buildings’ efforts to handle the sexual abuse disaster publicized by means of the Houston Chronicle in early 2019.
The messengers’ mandate in particular integrated the situation that the committee contributors waive attorney-client privilege.
SBC politics and polity get complicated briefly, however the important thing level within the present debate is that the SBC is a bottom-up group. The entire energy rests with the church buildings of the conference, whose will is expressed during the messengers selected to constitute the church buildings at the yearly assembly. The gang of 86 folks at the Govt Committee, elected by means of the messengers to behave for them between annual conferences, “is topic to the overview of the Conference.”
This reality is going in opposition to the false claims by means of Govt Committee member Joe Knott that the messengers “should not have the facility to let us know to do the rest.” The Govt Committee is topic to the messengers — it should do what the messengers direct it to do. It’s that easy.
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However, the Govt Committee has now voted two times on a movement to waive attorney-client privilege, and two times the committee voted in opposition to doing so. Fairly than facilitate the folks’s need to do what is correct, Floyd and different Govt Committee contributors have defied the desire of the messengers of the Southern Baptist Conference and are preventing enamel and nail to make certain that, within the phrases of the Gospel of John, “(evil) deeds might not be uncovered.”
A rising minority of Govt Committee contributors are arguing for Floyd and others at the committee to do what is correct, together with Govt Committee chair and California pastor Rolland Slade and the outstanding Tallahassee, Florida, pastor Dean Inserra.
That minority voice represents the explicit will of the church buildings, and I’m hoping and pray that their voice will win out. I’m hoping and pray that, like Ezra 2.5 millennia in the past, they are going to facilitate the motion that should accompany our repentance for the a long time of sexual abuse and coverup of that abuse inside the Southern Baptist Conference.