Southern Baptist Convention approved two sexual abuse reform recommendations after controversial reports revealed mishandled allegations of abuse and mistreated abuse victims by some of their leaders.

Messengers of SBC "overwhelmingly" passed two sets of sexual abuse reforms last Tuesday during their Annual Meeting, where over 8000 delegates gathered in Anaheim, California, Christian Post reported.

The said recommendations were made by the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force proposing first, the creation of an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF), and second, the creation of a "Ministry Check" website and process to maintain records of pastors and other church leaders and workers who have sexual abuse accusations.

Votes were made after a 40-minute deliberation with a few oppositions who were concerned that the resolutions might contradict the church's belief in autonomy, while others criticized Guidepost Solutions' tweet in support of Pride month.

SBC On A 'Kairos' Moment

The voting for the reforms was the most urgent and significant item on the annual meeting's agenda, leading some to believe that it would be the "most consequential, and potentially contentious" gathering in years, Yahoo News proclaimed.

Thus, just before voting time, Pastor Bruce Frank of the Biltmore Church in Arden, N.C., and chair of the Sexual Abuse Task Force, described their circumstance as a "Kairos" moment, a crucial opportunity for SBC to "take a step down the right road".

"Either we humble ourselves before God, or God will humble us," he implied. He went on to address the congregation, emphasizing that in this "seminal moment" they can either choose humility or hubris, genuine repentance or continually being passive, and doing the best for the glory of God and the good of people or business as usual.

The sexual abuse incidents "happened on our watch," the pastor reminded the SBC leaders. "This is our denomination that closed our eyes and our hearts to survivors; closed our eyes and hearts to sexual abuse reform initiatives, and in some cases, allowing serial predators to quietly move from church to church," he said.

Frank ended with a plea to the congregation to pass the recommendations saying, "Loved ones, we are a people of the Book. We should know better than this."

Also Read: Texas Megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress Says Churches Should Have 'Zero-Tolerance Policy For Abuse And Harassment' Following SBC Report

From Victims to Heroes

It was the release of a highly controversial report last month, authorized by the SBC, that pushed for the writing of the reforms. The said 288-page report narrated how leaders turned a deaf ear to survivors' stories of abuse, the aim to protect the abusers rather than the victims, calling the latter "opportunists," all while ensuring that no legal liability is brought against SBC.

Survivors, who were also present during the meeting, were assured by Frank that the task force has spent time and effort reading all reports, listening to them, and deciding what best course to take.

Further, he called the survivors the "heroes in this room," as he expressed his gratitude for the patience, persistence, grace, and resolve that they have shown in their difficult ordeal.

A press conference was held after the meeting where Rachael Denhollander, attorney and sexual abuse survivor, proclaimed that the approval of the sexual abuse reforms is proof and a result of the "tireless efforts of the survivors" who never lost hope.

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