Statement on SBC Task Force Report on Sexual Abuse
SEBTS Staff | May 24, 2022
Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, released the following email to the Southeastern community on Monday, May 23, 2022 after the report from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Sexual Abuse Task Force on Sunday, May 22, 2022.
Dear SEBTS Family,
Yesterday, the Sexual Abuse Task Force released the report of Guidepost Solutions detailing the findings of the investigation conducted. You can find the 288-page report on the Task Force’s website by clicking here.
The report addresses two major items. The first is the scope of the investigation as approved by the messengers at the Annual Meeting last year in Nashville, TN. This led to an examination of the actions of the Executive Committee of the SBC regarding how they handled reports of sexual abuse, cared for abuse survivors, and responded to calls to create a system to help collect information on clergy in SBC churches that had been involved in sexual abuse. The report details the failure of some staff to act appropriately to sexual abuse issues. I am ashamed of the actions that were taken by some to prevent Southern Baptists from dealing with this issue years ago. There is much to lament and repent. This report will be presented to the messengers at the Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA on June 14th & 15th. This is just the beginning step towards adopting solutions that better support and care for survivors, implementing best practices that help prevent sexual abuse from occurring, and developing systems to ensure predators are not able to move on from one church to another and take advantage of others. Please pray for the survivors. Also, pray for the messengers at the Annual Meeting to make decisions that honor the Lord and show Godly love to those that are hurting.
The second item that the report brought to light hits closer to home for Southeastern. During their investigation Guidepost Solutions was made aware of an accusation that Dr. Johnny Hunt was involved in acts of sexual abuse. Dr. Hunt has released a statement that denies these allegations. However, Guidepost included the accusations and the findings of their investigation because they believe the accusations are credible. Dr. Hunt is a graduate of SEBTS, and he and his wife Janet are close friends with Charlotte and me. His involvement with the school has led to his name being associated with an Academic Chair, our 5-year BA/MDiv program, and a variety of other things. I am immediately initiating serious discussions with my Cabinet as to what needs to be done in response to these allegations. I ask that you pray that the Lord would give us wisdom. I do not want this to be a long-drawn-out process, but I want it to be the right decision handled in the right way. Know this matter weighs extremely heavy on my heart.
Sexual abuse in any form should not be tolerated. It is a sinful act against fellow image bearers and an affront to a holy God. Let me encourage you that if you know of someone that has been sexually abused or is the victim of sexual abuse that you immediately report it to law enforcement. After reporting it to law enforcement, you can send an email to [email protected]. This email address is monitored by our Student Life team. We will follow up and respond quickly and decisively.
As we looked at the book of Revelation this last semester in chapel, I long for the day described in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’” Come quickly Lord Jesus!
In Christ’s Service,
Daniel L. Akin
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary