Southern Baptists screen out sexual predators

A  Ministry Today report says Baptists after watching the debacle of sexual crimes in the Catholic Church, took necessary measures to fortify the churches against sexual predators who are constantly looking for holes to gain access to children:

After watching the Catholic Church being rocked by repeated child sex abuse scandals over the past several years, the Southern Baptist Convention took a cue. Last year its publishing arm, LifeWay Christian Resources, began offering Baptist churches a discounted rate for screening services.

It’s a good thing LifeWay did, because after 450 churches responded and requested more than 5,000 background checks on potential children’s and youth workers, partner company BackgroundChecks.com found that almost 14 percent of workers screened had a criminal history. Of the 5,000-plus checks, 80 were cases involving serious felony offenses, while 600 of those potential helpers had some form of criminal record that would typically prohibit them from working with children or youth at a church.

“It is unfortunate that everyone must be checked out before they are given trust or confidence in their goodwill, especially when they are only trying to give back to the community through the giving of themselves to support a ministry,” said Matthew Robbins of BackgroundChecks.com. “But child protection statistics tell a gruesome story that needs to change.”

I wonder what’s preventing other denominations from taking simular common sense measures rather than relying on untested trust in church workers. Isnt the sexual purity of  children worth protecting?

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29 thoughts on “Southern Baptists screen out sexual predators

  1. Great story and post.

    Allow me to play (and I hate to say it)…. well, “opposite of God” advocate (that still stung).

    If I’m a born again believer who has been washed by the blood of the Lamb, all my sins have been forgiven and taken away, I’ve received the risen eternal Jesus Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit, have been living a sanctified and holy life, and have been serving my brothers and sisters in love for years, but it was discovered that I was a sexual predator in my former life……

    will I be allowed to continue in my ministry?

    will I be ex-communicated?

    will I be released from the position/vocation I’m serving in?

    will my name and photo be on all the church boards across the nation like a person who robbed a post office?

    Why? Why? Why? Why?

  2. Those are great jump off questions for the post charzetta. Ones that churches are having to deal with more and more and frankly I dont think they are prepared for it. I have some ideas but I;ll hold off and hear what others have to say.

  3. GCMWATCH,

    I ask for a reason. I think I will wait to here other responses also before I give the reason.

  4. Charzetta: of course DL would be in favour of having a “Ex-Sexual” deivant ( if there is such a thing) continue their ministry. HE IS ONE. i am of the belief that homosexuals can not be changed they can ask lord jesus for forgiveness. but i beleive that they will always be a fornicator in the eyes of the lord

  5. I think the Southern Baptist have taken a great action of awareness but I have to admit, it will definitely be a tough task trying to figure out who is really regenerate and unregenerate given the fact that they cannot monitor a persons life snapshot after snapshot. Responsibility and accountability is our job as believers towards fellow believers, therefore I agree with the action to screen out the church but not with the intent of leaving those who still struggle without hope of Grace.

  6. Matt: I say this with love and sincerity: we as believers don’t go against the works of the Holy Spirit. Change is a process of sanctification which is exercised by the third Person of the Trinity-Holy Spirit. Any man in Christ is a new creature therefore, whatever the former life a person had, the current and latter part of that believers life will show evidence of such transformation. Sanctification is a life long process and a true believer who is truly regenerate will change and live in their new realm of life in Christ Jesus.

  7. Matt:
    I know I’m gonna sound like the facilitator of this blog, but you kinda went off point and topic. This isn’t an issue of whether homosexuality (or any other sin) can be changed or not (See – “Professional Christian organizations and homosexuality” or “A simple test of immutability” for that.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you’re taking a sarcastic shot at DL. And if you believe that homosexuals cannot be changed, then I understand why you’re speaking those words.

    Just give you answers and why…….

  8. but it was discovered that I was a sexual predator in my former life……

    will I be allowed to continue in my ministry?

    You should not be allowed around any children, nor do you have any right to any ministry simply because you have repented. No one does.

    will I be ex-communicated?

    I don’t think that would be appropriate or meaningful in any way.

    will I be released from the position/vocation I’m serving in?

    I think you should be released immediately.

  9. This post reminds me of the Sunday School teacher that sexually molested and murdered a young girl a few months ago? What if the church where she attended took these very measures to find out this lady’s history? That little girl and so many like her could have been alive today.

    No doubt, a person can be saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit. But your past actions can definitely hinder your present and future. Sure God is forgiving and can wash away all of our sins, but He says that whatsoever a man sows he also reaps.

    I think the SBC was right on in doing what they did. These are children, not paper-mache or match dolls. If we don’t protect them, who will?

  10. Charzetta: Good questions you asked on this topic. The bible says when we accept Christ we are a new creation all things that are old are passed away. I believe a person should not be taking out of his ministry if that person is really serving the lord and living their lives according to his will. However it is a problem within the Church as Pastor Fostor said, the Church is not ready because the power of God is not among them. As for being posted on the list of sexual predators, If they are now living according to the will of God I don’t beleive they should be posted, if however they are posted there should be a footnote or an explantion of the wonderous works of God to take a person and change them when he enters into their lives and seek after the knowledge of God. If a person is serving the lord with no true repentance and seeking of God and the Church discerns it, I beleive they should be posted because they are just using the platform of the lord to justify and their sins.

  11. I’d also like to add that we can’t throw everyone in the same category. While there are truly converted people, there are some that lie their way into the church to cause devastation. It’s going to take prayer and discernment from the Holy Spirit for us to make the right choices.

  12. answer this question honestly.
    would any of you let your 12 year old son go over to a “ex” homosexual’s house unsupervised and alone. with just those two? even if said “ex” homosexual had a wife a kids? i know i would be nervous for my son’s safety and well being. even if the “ex” homosexual has been living a life free of sexual deviance he still at one point enoyed the comapy of men. how can we ever be sure that he is completly cured? c’mon now thinka bout it. i know i would be on my knees praying nonstop

    GCMW: lol@ Matt. Thanks for lightening up the mood on the blog with your interesting brand of humor. Carry on.

  13. Matt
    I am not sure any decent parent lets a 12 hang out with any adult alone. Is it your contention, a child sexual predator is the same in God’s eye as those with same sex attraction? or in other words, do you contend all sin is equal? I would biblically argue all sin is not equal, some are worse than others.

  14. Saul chained and imprisoned christians and even agreed with them being killed. He met Jesus and became a new creation, wrote 2/3 of the new testament writings, and became a great evangelist. He had the stigma of being a murderer of christians (Acts 9:10-18). Paul could have went off and reverted to his “old” tactics on the Galatians and Corinthians because his authority and apostleship was being challenged and he was even being talked about by those whom he preached the gospel to. But Christians have accepted Paul’s conversion and calling without question and quote his writings everyday.

    Paul shouldn’t have stayed under the microscope, but I should?
    So what was good enough for Paul isn’t good enough for me?

    HYPOCRITES !!!!! :o)

  15. Charzetta3 – easy…your panties are getting a bit twisted. 🙂

    Paul was an apostle, had a unique ministry and calling. You are way off – comparing Paul to a person today who has been healed by Christ from being a child sexual predator.

    Christians accepted God’s word, Paul and the other apostles did many great signs and miracles, to show his unique authority – did you forget that? Paul could not have reverted back to his “old tactics” – Paul was being lead by God, he had no choice in his conversion, his mission, nor His ministry and Gospel writings. btw, Paul was a murderer, just like we ALL are, he was not, however, a child sexual predator.

    Forgiveness – YES
    Right to minister to children – NO! (file under common sense)
    You are not Paul!

  16. Mark:

    I AM A BOY, DAMON !!!
    “Charzetta” is the name of an unborn daughter of mines. I am a man.

    I agree with all of the above about Paul with this exception; unless Paul had become God in the flesh when he was converted and became sinless, he still had the struggle of sin, fault, wrong, err, etc (whatever word you want to call it)……
    Although I understand your meaning of “we all are murderers”, we all aren’t literal murderers like Paul was. He still could have cussed out or “pulpit-pimp” slapped some people.

    NOTE: THIS IS HYPOTHETICAL !!!! I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT ME !!!!

  17. Hey Damon – 🙂
    I know this is hypothetical an all, but I think what is being misplaced IMHO – is we all may recieve forgiveness, but not all are due a place in ministry of their choice, one’s past does matter this side of heaven.

  18. Mark:

    I agree. I believe it’s more a matter of wisdom than anything else. A person may be saved and truly delivered from sexual sins (whatever form it may have been), but as a comfort and in consideration for the church or body of Christ, it will probably be better served for him/her not to work with children. “All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient (beneficial, wise).”

  19. The denomination I attend is in a similar fix.
    There is a leader who was in a homosexual relationship. He’s not in it now (so he says); it was found out that he was in a homosexual relationship; but he’s a bishop now. That’s what prompted my original questions……

    Lets say church perform background checks and find discrepancies.

    Now what do we do?

  20. People…you may be forgiven by the Blood of the Lamb of God and your sins are as far as the east is from the west in the eyes of God, but with man and his foibles, you are still suspect if you
    engage in certain sins and will not be placed in a position of authority. Forgiven yes….forgotten? No.
    Example: if you are a thief and an embezzler and repent of your sins…do you think after a period of time that you should be
    doing the accounting books of your church and have access to the cash that is taken up each Sunday/Wednesday?
    Do not think so. In the eyes of God…all things are new and you are a new creation in Christ Jesus but does that allow you to
    engage in conduct that could be a temptation to you?
    Do you allow alcoholics to prepare the communion table if your church serves wine?
    Do not tempt a weaker brother or sister by your acts that you
    have no problem with including placing child molesters as day
    care workers or bathroom aides.
    The Holy Ghost is not without wisdom in these matters. What matters is that soul is saved for all eternity and that is not a
    pass to get a job or an occupation that may cause you to revert to your former sinful life.
    Can the Holy Spirit keep you? Yes…if you are willing to be kept!
    Can you sin when you are born again? Absolutely!
    Should you as a former pimp volunteer to work with the youth department….no! Should you as a known gossip be allowed to view personal and confidential church records involving counseling and
    financial records? No.
    Some things only require common sense and wisdom. We are not trying to play Mr. Liberal and let anything goes simply because a
    person is professing Christ.
    The anointing that is from God will give wisdom to leadership as to the placement of people with abilities and talents and it will be good to us and to the Holy Spirit regarding the outcome.
    Churches are not required to be at risk in order to show that any and all sinners who convert to Christ can have a free reign in the church regardless of their past life.
    The fact that you do not publicly remind a redeemed person of their past life and lifestyle is different from allowing them to do what they want and their defense is: I am born again.
    That does not cut it!

  21. this is exactly what i am talkign about CHARZETTA3.

    once a person is a homosexual they are always a homosexual.
    GCMW: Read 1 Cor 6:11
    even if they are “changed” should these people be in charge of others.
    GCMW: Read 1 Cor 6:11
    should these “ex” homosexuals be given the task to lead others out of there sins???
    GCMW: Read 1 Cor 6:11,12
    can we EVER really trust someone like that?
    GCMW: Read 1 Cor 6:11

  22. charzetta, this is a legitimate question so, let’s answer it.

    The article was about sexual predators with criminal sexual histories or criminal pasts which prohibit them from working in certain professions or near certain people.

    Having noted that, a sinful past (if it is indeed a sinful past) is just that. 1 Cor 6:11,12 The resolution is the same with any person with a sinful past. If they declare they are no longer involved in that sin, and have demonstrated faithful, consistent adherence to the word of God as would any other person, then that’s all you have to go on unless some action (or actions) belie what they said. That’s not perfection, just holiness.

    Btw, your comment is a little confusing about the bishop. Are you saying he was caught in a homosexual relationship after he was a bishop or after he said he was no longer homosexual?

    Background checks are not designed to catch sinners, but criminals. The checks are tools which can aid the church in preventing crimes against unsuspecting people. The criminal who is unregenerate has no incentive to reveal who he is. In fact, that would inhibit his ability to deceive churches and thus gain access to children, et al. That’s why the Baptists get my applause. If a person has a criminal history which currently prevents him or her from doing what they currently do, then the denomination should remove him. Its not for them to decide whether or not the person is “safe”, the law requires it and for good reason.

    Your comment to Mark that people with sexual sin backgrounds shouldnt work with children is somewhat shortsighted. Here’s why: you are making a blanket pre-judgment (prejudice) of all people with sexual sin pasts. Is there a risk? Yes, but it they have shown sufficient “meat for repentance”, there should be no unwarranted restrictions placed on them in any area of service in the church. Wisdom is advisable in all things, yet discrimination based on one’s past is unbiblical. The only application of such discrimination is if after a person has declared they are free from a sin, but committ it again with serious reverberations, they should be restored (after restoration requirements are met or exceeded) but whether they should be reinstated is an altogether different scenario. That’s where the wisdom would definitely come into play.

    With sinners, the bible is clear they should not lead or be in positions of authority in church until at such time they repent of their sins and are born again. Even with that they are prohibited from leadership until they gain some seasoning i.e. maturity.

    Maybe that helps to clear up your questions some.

  23. Matt:

    1 Cor 6:11,12 says “And such WERE some of you,” not “ARE.” As far as the word of God is concerned, you either are or you are not.

    GCM:

    As far as the bishop situation, he had a homosexual affair when he was a pastor. No one knew about it. He’s now a bishop. That’s when it came out.

    Now back to the issue at hand. I totally agree with you in regards to not selling the Lord short, so to speak. I believe with my heart that God can deliver anyone from anything and keep them from anything. I certainly believe that if a person has come to Christ after a sinful and criminal past, has been in Christ for a while, has learned the word of God, lives a holy life, and hasn’t committed that sinful/criminal act, then he/she shouldn’t be prevented by the church from serving. A christian who once stole may never steal another day in his life.

    I didn’t mean to make my last statement a general standard for a people. I believe it should be determined on a case by case basis.

  24. @ Lafe:

    Your points were very good, but one thing almost made me trip and fall; you said, “Do you allow alcoholics to prepare the communion table if your church serves wine?”

    What are the churches supposed to serve??

    Inquiring mind wishes to know, or what remains of it.

    Peter.

  25. Wow I was wondering the same thing Lafe. Are churches supposed to be serving actual booze for communion? LOL

  26. I have been reading this site for over a year, and I had to comment on this discussion.

    While all sin is the same, I think the act that made someone a sexual predator has to be examined to determine the role they should be able to play in the lives of children. I believe there is difference between someone who was convicted of statutory rape when they were 19 because they were dating and having consentual sex 16 year old girl versus a 19 year old who is molesting a 10 year old. Again, let me repeat, that I am not saying that either one is right, but I would consider the first a bit differently years later.

    Also, I believe that disclosure is a hugh consideration here. If the sexual predator has truly been healed of their former lifestyle, then I would expect that they be forthcoming with their past before engaging in any work with children. The fact that all of these criminal offenses were only discovered because of the background checks means that the offenders were concealing the information.

    GCMW: thanks so much Landa. Welcome and that is sound advice I agree with.

  27. The Apostle Paul warned the Church:

    Acts 20:28-30
    (28) Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood.
    (29) For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
    (30) Also men shall arise from your own selves, speaking perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them.

    Many understand these verses to mean doctrinal shifts, but those who are charged with being Overseers of the flock not only have to look out for doctrinal wolves, but wolves of every stripe. This includes those who would prey on our children. I was watching a show about sexual predators and it stated it’s never the creepy looking person who is molesting the children. It’s always the person who has a very plausible reason to be around the children, the one person you’d never expect. Which goes hand in hand with what Scripture says that men “crept in unawares”. Again, speaking about doctrinal issues, but can be applied here as well.

    That being said, anyone wishing to work with children should be willing to submit to a criminal check to see if they have committed sexual crimes in the past. Being an Overseer and taking heed of the flock means I look out for the spiritual needs of the sheep on all levels. Should someone who has had a past of sexual molestation be allowed to continue to work with children? No, it would be irresponsible to continue to place an individual in such a position…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. And one never knows which temptation would be enough to trigger the flesh and one’s movement towards the desire of the flesh.

    Should the person be ex-communicated? Not at all, we are all sinners saved by grace.

    Should the person be released from the position they were serving in? This is the same question as the one above and the answer again is yes. Allowing a sexual predator to continue to work with children would be placing an undue burden on them, something we are told we should not do in the body of Christ.

    Should we broadcast the sin to the congregation? Only if we are willing to broadcast everyone’s sin…and only if that individual is continuing in that sin.

    Those are my two pennies.

  28. Rush I agree with you on everything except the last part. We should inform people about criminals lurking in the congregation. Remember this wasnt about sin, it was about criminals and the crime they want to commit.
    There is no reason to withhold that information from the church. Its not a matter of broadcasting all, because not all are criminals.

    Thanks.

  29. DL, good point. It is about criminal behavior, not about spiritual edification…the congregation should be warned.

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