Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Walking Where SBC Preachers Fail to Tread

I am borrowing the title to the thread from Wade Burleson because I believe that headline captures the essence of what needs to be done.

Accountability is needed & we ain't been doin' it!

Darrell Gilyard was a remarkable young man. In the late 80s & early 90s, he was taunted as one of the SBC's best young preachers. To be sure, he was. Mesmerizing. Powerful. He could put you in the text with words that would inspire like few others. The guy could preach & preach well.

But there was a side to him that was hidden; not true; shameful; criminal.

He was a fake.

I remember when the rumors first started flying about Darrell, rumors that first poked holes in his story about being homeless & living under a bridge as a kid. But all that talk was hushed when several big name pastors gave their personal stamp on him: Jerry Vines & Johnny Hunt, to name just two.

Soon there was a more accusations & the tales got worse & worse.

Finally. Gilyard has entered into a plea deal with prosecutors for multiple sex crimes. His sentencing will be this Thursday, May 21, 2009, in a FLA state court. Gilyard is agreeing to his guilt on all charges and to three years incarceration in a state facility and then three years probation. He will also carry a permanent record identifying him as a sexual predator/offender. The court has also mandated periodic psychiatric evaluations and ongoing counseling.

Things like this hurt the name of Christ, especially in the SBC. It causes the unchurched to laugh at us & scoff at our message of grace & peace. Fair enough. We have bad apples just like any religious group.

However, what makes this more egregious is the SBC leadership has known about the Gilyard Scandal for years & made no moves to do anything. While I will grant that every local church is autonomous & needs to be free of ecclesiastical control, the SBC has an obligation, IMHO, to have some sort ability to keep track of predators who abuse their position of power to manipulate a trusting flock.

I don't have the answers as to how it should be set up, enforced, utilized, etc. No clue. I'll leave that to smarter folks than me. But what I do know is that we need to do something. Something. Just try something to show we are trying & we can alter it as we go along.

Pastoral abuse, especially sexual abuse, is in a class by itself. It cannot be ignored any longer. We have a duty to protect believers, our witness, our Message & our God's reputation.

Wade Burleson's Blog on the subject
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1 comment:

Georgia Mountain Man said...

Unfortunately, the church gives people such as this a place to hide and practice their sick habits. They can easily weave a web of fake Christianity with an easily convinced audience. Just like with politicians a few well placed words that the flock wants to hear places them into a position of security. It then becomes hard for the flock to believe that there is a problem, because "the preacher would never do something like that."