Ronnie Floyd SBC Executive Committee
SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd speaks during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention at the BJCC in Birmingham, Alabama, on June 11, 2019. (RNS Photo by Butch Dill)

SBC Executive Committee Hires Independent Firm to Review Allegations by Russell Moore

By Bob Smietana

Responding to allegations that it has mishandled allegations of abuse in the past, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee announced Friday that it had retained a firm to “conduct an independent review of its processes,” according to a statement from Ronnie Floyd, president of the Executive Committee.

The review by Guidepost Solutions, comes in response to allegations by Russell Moore, until recently the president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, claiming that Floyd and Georgia pastor Mike Stone had tried to delay attempts to deal with abuse and to silence abuse survivors. 

“Guidepost Solutions is a global leader in monitoring, compliance, sensitive investigations, and risk management solutions and has deep experience providing advice and counsel to faith communities in this area,” according to the statement.

Besides reviewing Moore’s allegations, Guideposts will “review and enhance training” provided to the Executive Committee Staff and trustees on responding to abuse matters.

 ”The SBC Executive Committee commits to providing full support and transparency to Guidepost Solutions including making individuals available for interviews and providing relevant documents,” the statement said. 

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Abuse advocate and attorney Rachael Denhollander, who has been critical in the past of SBC officials’ treatment of alleged sex abuse victims, called Guidepost Solutions a “highly qualified firm” that is capable of reviewing the Executive Committee’s actions and advising SBC leaders.

“The question is whether the Executive Committee allows them to do their job,” said Denhollander, a former gymnast who was the first to accuse former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of abuse.

Denhollander called for the Executive Committee to expand the mandate given to Guidepost to include a full written report and a review of all paid staff and elected officials.

“If they get those two things, Guidepost can do their job,” she said.

Denhollander criticized SBC leaders during a 2019 “Caring Well Conference” on responding to abuse, leading to pushback from those leaders. In leaked clips of meetings with Moore, then head of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Floyd said he was not worried about “what survivors can say.”

 ”I am not worried about that,” he is heard saying in the audio clips, released by a Texas pastor who is a former ERLC staffer. “I’m thinking the base. I just want to preserve the base.”

Floyd has said those audio clips mischaracterize his response to abuse.

Moore, who resigned recently after years of controversy, cited the pushback over abuse and over the ERLC’s work on race in a letter to ERLC trustees before his resignation. 

Rolland Slade, chairman of the Executive Committee, has expressed support for an independent investigation into Moore’s allegations. Two Southern Baptist pastors have announced plans to propose an independent investigation during the SBC’s annual meeting next week in Nashville, which is expected to draw more than 16,000.

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

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5 thoughts on “SBC Executive Committee Hires Independent Firm to Review Allegations by Russell Moore”

  1. “”The SBC Executive Committee commits to providing full support and transparency to Guidepost Solutions including making individuals available for interviews and providing relevant documents,” the statement said.”
    .
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    “Denhollander called for the Executive Committee to expand the mandate given to Guidepost to include a full written report and a review of all paid staff and elected officials.”
    ————————————–

    since Ronnie Floyd is so concerned about “the base”, seems to me the SBC Executive Committee owes “the base” this full transparency.

    well, they owe it to all SBC members: the “giving units”, whether they give monetarily to fund the lavish salaries and perks, or give in prayer, trust, goodfaith and goodwill.

    The two Southern Baptist pastors who have announced plans to propose an independent investigation during the SBC’s annual meeting next week in Nashville should stipulate the following:

    **the full written report will be published and made available to all of the SBC and to all survivors of abuse perpetrated by SBC personnel and in SBC institutions.

    1. You cannot serve God and Mammon. According to Jesus, their is an inherent conflict where you either love one or the other or you hold fast and are loyal to one or the other. A while back Floyd’s salary was published in a blog and it was obscene. It was over $500K. Just the fact these famous people are stealing so much out in the open from their own organization just shows how corrupt this thing is. Their is no way practically to fix this. The greedy and narcissistic climb over each other in order to have access to the power to set their own salaries high and live like the corporate bigshots that they really are. The whole org will have to collapse to fix this problem. The fact that those in the pew do not care about their own donation money means it will never get fixed as things stand. No wonder these guys try to consume one another trying to get to the top!

  2. I guess it’s good that this investigation is happening, but I have little confidence that it will make any change in the network of good-ole-boys that calls itself the “leadership” of the SBC.

    They have shown over and over and over again that their concern is not for the flock, it is only for the preservation of their own corrupt power.

  3. Guideposts do not do real independent investigations. They are lawyers who are really a reputation management firm in disguise. The current president hired them to investigate Pastor Bryan Loritts and then, no surprise, absolved everyone of doing anything wrong. This is image reputation management which is nothing more than the Image of the Beast which is a lie. This will cost money and will make everyone look acceptable in the end. And then in two years this will start all over again.

  4. This new announcement of an ” independent investigation” brings me little, if any hope of revealing truth. If my memory serves me, *Guideposts* is the organization that Julie Roys reported was used by ( SBC PRESIDENT) JD Greear’s Summit Church to ” investigate” Bryan Loritts after she had two eye-witnesses give their account of his church’s handling of abuse on her podcast.

    Eyewitnesses Accuse J.D. Greear & Summit of “Sham” Investigation | The Roys Report

    Loritts also participated in another tearful interview where he confesses to multiple culpabilities and makes seemingly contradictory remarks about his involvement in the Memphis debacle, including NOT calling police immediately, not turning evidence over to police. If you have not listened to this blame-shifting interview, YOU SHOULD! It’s a classic example of church leadership sympathetic to abuser’s MO, turning himself into a victim.

    Loritts Responds to Allegations of Cover-Up: “It wasn’t us trying to hide anything . . . It was following the counsel of lawyers” | The Roys Report

    Yet, Guideposts completed the report in such a way that made it sound like he was exonerated and fit for ministry. Investigative Firms hired by institutions, Christian or not, in name, are NOT working for it’s victims, or even for complete truth… By definition they serve the institution and its interests and the victims are bc of that, often marginalized or even worse, re-traumatized.

    Opinion: Bryan Loritts is not ‘Qualified for Ministry’ & Report Doesn’t Clear Him of Wrongdoing | The Roys Report

    The Executive committee remarks that they have this week been diligently seeking an appropriate independent, firm… Only provokes, for me, more questionS about their motives and integrity.

    My guess, Guideposts has been waiting in the wings and SBC’s leadership hopes to shut down this public outcry lies in the balance.

    https://www.baptistpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/SBCEC-Guidepost-FINAL.pdf

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