In a blog post for the conservative Calvinistic network G3 Ministries, former Southern Baptist pastor Josh Buice of Atlanta criticized the recommendation of Guidepost Solutions’ independent investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee’s mishandling of sexual abuse to create a database of convicted and credibly accused clergy sexual abusers as “another example of pragmatism driving theology.”
While Buice stated that “any accusation of sexual abuse within a single local church is horrific,” he also stated he believes the Guidepost report is “harmful.”
Buice criticized large swaths of the SBC for delving into what he called “pragmatism” and stated that while “there needs to be repentance for how specific individuals handled or mishandled sexual abuse victims,” there also “needs to be a call to repent for the SBC’s longtime commitment to pragmatism.”
The Guidepost recommendations are “a classic example of a failed philosophy of ministry,” he wrote. “It’s not the role of the convention to police local churches. It’s the role of the local church to return to a firm commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture, which will result in a proper response in all areas of sin.”
Buice also turned his sights on Grant Gaines, author of the 2021 motion to launch the independent investigation at last year’s SBC annual meeting in Nashville. Gaines is the son of former SBC President Steve Gaines, whom Buice noted made an appearance in the Guidepost report.
Buice called Gaines’ call for an abuser database “a bad idea from a legal standpoint, … a bad idea from a church government standpoint, … (and) another example of pragmatism driving theology and (that) will do more harm than good in the SBC.”
Baptist News Global attempted to contact Gaines for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
Buice also criticized the cost of the investigation and the opportunity Guidepost made available for survivors to make anonymous reports, saying such a process feeds the “monster of the #MeToo movement.”
He wrote: “Not only is it a tragedy that $4 million of money given by SBC churches had to be used to form such a report, it’s not a step in the right direction. If the SBC commits to trial by independent investigation reports rather than pointing back to the local church and the civil authorities as the God ordained means of accountability, discipline and justice — it will not end well. Logic tells us that if we allow anonymous accusers to remain anonymous in public reports that make public accusations against public figures, this methodology will feed the monster of the #MeToo movement and it will be disastrous.”
“This methodology will feed the monster of the #MeToo movement and it will be disastrous.”
Buice ended his post by stating his opposition to any new abuse reforms. “The real answer is found in the pages of Scripture,” he wrote, “and does not require the implementation of new methods, programs or policies.”
When asked for comment on Buice’s post, survivor and longtime advocate Christa Brown merely asked, “Where, in that, is the scriptural admonition to seek justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly? ‘Seek’ is an active verb, and that is what the Scriptures call us to do.”
The Executive Committee recently issued a public apology for a statement made by former Executive Committee vice president and general counsel Augie Boto to Brown in a letter dated Sept. 29, 2006. The statement in question read, “The adversarial posture which you have assumed is one of several factors leading me to believe that continued discourse between us (the Executive Committee and survivor advocates) will not be positive or fruitful.”
Buice’s remarks about the investigation came just one day after SBC presidential candidate Tom Ascol called the Executive Committee’s waiver of attorney-client privilege “not wise.”
Later today, the Executive Committee will release the list of alleged clergy sexual abusers that was kept at the Executive Committee under Boto’s direction but never acted upon.