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Churches Threaten to Withhold Funds Over Southern Baptist Response to Abuse Inquiry

More leaders and state conventions are putting pressure on the Executive Committee ahead of this week’s meeting.

As controversy escalates surrounding an investigation into mishandlings of sexual abuse by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC), pastors and state conventions are calling on the committee to finally vote to waive attorney-client privilege at its upcoming meeting.

In official statements and social media threads, Southern Baptists condemned trustees’ failure to heed the directive of the messengers in the EC’s two previous meetings, and many threatened to withdraw giving or redirect monies.

“Should the Executive Committee fail to comply, we will lead our churches to consider how to reallocate funds away from the Executive Committee while continuing to fund the cooperative mission and education endeavors that have always made Southern Baptists great,” read a statement from South Carolina pastors. Among its signatories were two Executive Committee trustees and a member of the task force overseeing the investigation.

David Sons, one of the trustees who signed the statement, told CT that it was born out of a concern for the “egregious nature of the accusations” and worries that Southern Baptist polity is being violated.

“The EC has a responsibility to carry out, to the best of our ability, the will of the messengers,” Sons said. “Not to tell the messengers why we can’t, or won’t, comply.”

Withholding or reallocating funds “shouldn’t be used as a threat,” he added, “but [it] can be done as a last resort to express to an entity that they have violated the trust of the messengers.”

In June, 15,000 convention messengers overwhelmingly approved a motion to launch the investigation, conducted by a third-party and …

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