Calls For SBC To Cut Ties With Guidepost Solutions Greet Firm’s Pride Month Tweet

By Bob Smietana
Guidepost Solutions
Members of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee listen to Rev. Bruce Frank during a Sept. 21, 2021 meeting in Nashville, Tenn. (RNS photo by Bob Smietana)

Randy Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, said that a recent report detailing decades of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist Convention churches identified an important issue for the SBC to address. He also believes that members of the LGBTQ+ community “have value and worth.”  

But in a statement this week, Davis has called on the SBC to “break all ties” with the investigative firm Guidepost Solutions, which produced the long-awaited sexual abuse report, after the company posted on Twitter its support for LGBTQ+ Pride month. The SBC should not have anything to do, he said, with a firm that “does not share our biblical perspective of human sexuality.”

Davis spoke out as news spread through the SBC community of Guidepost’s tweet Monday reading, “We celebrate our collective progress toward equality for all and are proud to be an ally to our LGBTQ+ community.”

Baptist leaders in Alabama also called on the SBC to cut ties with Guidepost.

Though a secular company, Guidepost has become a go-to firm for evangelical groups dealing with the issue of sexual abuse. It is perhaps best known in Christian circles for a report on the culture at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries that found that RZIM board members were blinded by loyalty to Zacharias, a once-beloved author and speaker who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

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The firm, headquartered in New York, was hired last year by the SBC’s Executive Committee to review how leaders there have responded to the issue of abuse. Guidepost’s work was expanded by the delegates to SBC’s June 2021 annual meeting, who authorized a more in-depth investigation. That investigation found that SBC leaders had mistreated abuse survivors for decades and had long worked to protect the institution and prevent any reforms to address abuse.

Southern Baptist leaders repeatedly tried to derail the investigation.

As part of its report, Guidepost suggested a series of steps to address abuse. An SBC task force on sexual abuse, which oversaw the investigation, has also suggested reforms, which will be voted on at next week’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California. Guidepost is also running a hotline for reporting abuse, which can be reached at 202-864-5578 or [email protected]

The SBC’s North American Mission Board has also announced plans to work with Guidepost on investigating any reported abuse allegations against its staff.

Guidepost’s tweet, which included a rainbow flag, led to an outcry on social media, especially from SBC figures who claim the denomination has become too liberal. Tom Ascol, a Florida pastor running for SBC president, said SBC churches and pastors had been betrayed.

“This is who we gave our tithe dollars to?” he tweeted.

But others, including South Carolina pastor Marshall Blalock, vice-chair of the abuse task force, defended Guidepost in a series of social media posts. He said the task force would have preferred to hire a Christian company but none had the capacity to do the job.

“Guidepost did a professional investigation, they operated with integrity, they respected our faith and values, they even ate a significant amount of the cost because they wanted to help us discover the truth and assist us to be more Christlike in how we respond to sexual abuse,” he tweeted.

On Wednesday, the abuse task force released an updated set of recommendations for reforms to deal with abuse. Those updates were a result of conversations among SBC leaders, according to Bruce Frank, chairman of the task force.

“Over the last few days since releasing our recommendations, we are grateful for all the encouragement and support,” Frank said in a video posted to the task force website. We’ve also listened to the questions and concerns of Southern Baptists. We are super grateful to receive valuable feedback.”

The updated recommendations call for Send Relief, a partnership between the SBC’s International Mission Board and North American Mission Board that does compassion ministry, to provide $3 million in initial funding for abuse reforms. An earlier plan called for reforms to be paid for out of Cooperative Program funds collected from individual churches.

Send Relief will also contribute $1 million to set up a survivor care fund “providing trauma counseling for survivors of sexual abuse in the SBC, as well as trauma-informed training for SBC pastors, churches, local associations and state conventions,” Send Relief said in a statement.

 “Southern Baptists are grieving for survivors of abuse and are seeking ways to better safeguard children and families,” the statement said. “Send Relief wants to be part of the solutions outlined by the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force.”

Frank said in a phone interview that most of the work the task force hired Guidepost to do has been completed. He said that any future work by Guidepost is out of his hands.

“I don’t really have an opinion on that,” he said, when asked about Davis’ comments. “That’s not my purview.”

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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15 thoughts on “Calls For SBC To Cut Ties With Guidepost Solutions Greet Firm’s Pride Month Tweet”

  1. Look, if it’s a secular company then they can support who they want, if our “ leaders” are so concerned about our dollars then why didn’t they handle this correctly so Guidepost wasn’t needed? But they didn’t and no Christian company can do this according to the article. Also we don’t need a “christian “ company investigating Christian churches and etc., we need companies like Guidepost. So keep them around to do what they paid for.

    1. Thank You Chuck….could not have stated the facts better than you just did.
      Let us not forget why Guidepost was needed in the first place. By all means take the focus off the sinful conduct concerning the SBC and turn it to the gay community and Guidepost. As if to say in God’s eyes that the sin of a gay lifestyle is more offensive than the sin of abuse….by the church.
      A secular company who reports the truth and respects our right to stand on our beliefs; who could ask for more. No way did we need a Christian company investigating “Christian churches”.

  2. Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight)

    I’ve even heard that banks have accounts owned by gay people. Should Christians boycott those banks?

  3. So this is how we’re going to spell hypocrisy today.

    One day the SBC is an autonomous body and now they are united and are not?

    This will be a time period that is looked back upon as a watershed moment for the SBC. Leadership saw an easy out and took it, a secular company doing what a secular company has the right to do…and really, is showing the “Church” what love and unconditional support looks like.

    While there may be talk of acceptance, any interpretation that leads to actions of marginalization and rejection of a people group is the antithesis of who Jesus is.

    1. Dr. Cynthia Norbeck

      “While there may be talk of acceptance, any interpretation that leads to actions of marginalization and rejection of a people group is the antithesis of who Jesus is.”

      Actually, Jesus loves people unconditionally, but he absolutely abhors sin. That’s why he died in the first place. Also, don’t forget that God commanded the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites because of their….sin. They apparently engaged in child sacrifice regularly.

      Trying to excuse sinful behavior in the name of Jesus’ love is never wise, don’t you agree? He calls us to confess and to reject sin. This means that, as Christians, we reject sinful behavior every time. In the SBC case, this means rejecting sexual abuse in the future, but it also means rejecting homosexuality. Both are sins, both are wrong.

  4. Dean Lentini has a fantastic commentary on this in a YouTube video he released on Wednesday morning (or, as the kids say today, “a video that ‘dropped’ Wednesday morning.” Ugh).

  5. Frederic Larsen

    ….confirming yet again that hypocrisy is invisible in a mirror. Not only that, said hypocrite is not amenable to having this pointed out to them. The mantra of the moment is always “I’m right, I’m right, I know I’m right. If you don’t believe me, just ask me.” Likely I have some issue or traditional position regarding which I practice the same strategy. If nothing else, I can use the SBC as a bracing example of how I can look and sound when I become enamored with the sonorous tones of the sound of my own voice. While it is distressing to be in close proximity to someone who is openly embarrassing themselves, it is profoundly more so when they don’t and can’t see that is what they are doing. Such folks seemingly are not in possession of that beneficial internal urging by which most become innately aware that there is some benefit to simply shut up.

    1. Hypocrisy in the mirror indeed. Guidepost conducted an effective investigation precisely because, as Randy Davis complains, the firm “does not share our biblical perspective of human sexuality.” Had the SBC not mismanaged abuse, concealed truth, and resisted reforms for decades, the report would have been unnecessary.

  6. Mark Gunderson

    The SBC is going to split. Probably not now, but it will. The Conservative Resurgence crowd deserves the name, given the denomination’s history.

  7. Christopher Hanley

    We are so progressive! How do we know? Ask us! We believe in all the liberal causes that secular libs embraced-and in many cases discarded-years ago. And we have not yet embraced causes that lefties ignore, like mental health, so we’re every bit as blind Pharisees as they. What more proof need we, members of the council? Why, we even mistake quotation marks for real arguments.
    As a Christian who has been frozen out of a church for tiny, inconsequential things, I am sickened by some of the attitudes I read here. For many here, this not about gay. It’s about points scoring.

  8. Linda B Thompson

    This is one reason I would rather be a member of an independent Biblically based, doctrinally sound Christian church. It’s atrocious and dismaying that so many so-called Christians are tumbling like dominos to ideals completely contrary to the Bible. They have no fear of God, but will face His wrath some day nonethless.

  9. How many homosexuals abused people in the SBC during the years of the investigation? There always has to be a scapegoat for SBC leaders and homosexuals are the go to scapegoat.

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