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Looming Constitutional Crisis in the SBC

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The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a convention of churches. It is not itself a church, and it is not a clerical body. It has no formal hierarchical structure beyond the local church. Each local church sends messengers to an annual meeting to vote on denominational decisions.

The messengers elect officers, such as the convention president. They also elect an Executive Committee, which exists to carry on convention business outside the annual meeting and manage denominational affairs in accordance with the convention’s wishes.

At this year’s annual meeting, the messengers voted overwhelmingly to create a task force, appointed by the convention president, to oversee an independent investigation into the Executive Committee’s handling of sexual-abuse allegations within the SBC. President Ed Litton complied, appointing the task force on July 9.

The motion the messengers voted on included details on how the investigation was to be conducted. It set deadlines. It set the scope of the investigation. It also included this sentence: “We further move that the task force agree to the accepted best-standards and practices as recommended by the commissioned third-party, including but not limited to the Executive Committee staff and members waiving attorney client privilege in order to ensure full access to information and accuracy in the review.”


© National Review

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