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A statement from the ARITF concerning the DOJ investigation into the SBC

A statement from the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF) concerning the Department of Justice investigation into the SBC:

“Southern Baptists initiated the work of sexual abuse reform not in response to criminal inquiries or threats of lawsuits but due to an increasing burden and awareness that vulnerable people were suffering harm in many of our churches and institutions, which were vastly underresourced to care for and protect them. In fact, Southern Baptists have recognized this need for significant and effective abuse reform as early as the 2018 SBC Annual Meeting, more than four years before the Department of Justice mounted its inquiry into the SBC’s handling of sexual abuse. For nearly two years, the ARITF has carried forward the work of abuse reform in the SBC driven by the urgent need to ensure churches have the help and resources required to prevent and respond to sexual abuse. 

Irrespective of any actions the Department of Justice may or may not take, the goal of abuse reform is to ensure SBC churches and entities are consistently able to protect and care for the vulnerable with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. That is not only a worthy goal, but a gospel imperative. The ARITF is unwavering in our commitment to fulfill the task given to us by the Messengers. We look forward to bringing an update to them on the progress of abuse reform at the annual meeting in June.”