Southern Baptist Convention

Thank you for visiting the Credentials Committee page on SBC.net. This webpage exists to provide individuals an opportunity to address concerns about whether a church that is currently identified as a cooperating church with the Southern Baptist Convention continues to meet our standards of faith and practice. That standard of faith and practice is The Baptist Faith and Message. This statement of faith lifts up “certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified.”

In addition to The Baptist Faith and Message, numerous resolutions adopted by messengers at the SBC annual meetings reflect the collective opinion of Southern Baptists on a given topic at the time each resolution was adopted. These resolutions also lift up values and ideals embraced by Southern Baptists on a variety of doctrinal, moral, and ethical matters not specifically addressed or fully developed in The Baptist Faith and Message. Previously adopted resolutions can be found here.

We want to help you understand what the Credentials Committee is, what we do within the SBC, and how to report your concerns. As you progress through this site, you will find the following:

  • The Credentials Committee Statement of Assignment
  • A Statement of Relationship between the Southern Baptist Convention and other Baptist Bodies, including local churches
  • Steps to Take if You Want to Report Instances of Racial Discrimination Affirmed or Supported by a Church that Cooperates with the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Steps to Take if You Want to Report Instances of Sexual or Other Forms of Abuse in a Church or SBC Ministry Setting
  • Steps to Take if You Wish to Report Other Concerns about a Cooperating Church’s Relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention

Click Here to Continue

Statement of Assignment

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Credentials Committee is tasked to consider questions that arise concerning whether a church is in “friendly cooperation” with the Convention as described in the SBC Constitution, Article III. The Credentials Committee may make inquiries of a church, but may not exercise any authority over a church through an investigation or other process that would violate Article IV of the SBC Constitution.

Any report concerning an alleged abuser should first be made to law enforcement for criminal investigation. When recommended by law enforcement, it is also appropriate to make a report to the local church where the individual is a member for the local church to exercise church discipline according to the church’s adopted practice. Please remember that reporting to a church is not a substitute for reporting to law enforcement.

A submission may be made over any matter deemed appropriate by the submitter. It is important to know, however, that the Credentials Committee will not be able to consider anonymous submissions about a church. Recently, the Convention has heightened scrutiny in two significant areas of concern— discriminatory behavior on the basis of ethnicity and sexual abuse.

The Credentials Committee bases its decisions regarding a church’s standing in the SBC based on who that church puts in a leadership role as either an employee or volunteer. Neither the Convention nor its Credentials Committee has authority to declare an individual not in good standing with a local church. Church membership is solely under the guidance and governance of each local church.

The Convention has no authority over any local church, however, it retains its sovereign right to determine whether it deems a church to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention. If a church is deemed not to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith and practice, the Convention has the autonomous authority to declare it will no longer recognize the church as a cooperating church with the Convention and to sever its relationship with the church.

Upon receipt of a submission, the Credentials Committee may inform the church of the concerns raised against it. If necessary to adequately garner the information necessary to fully vet the concern, the identity of the individual or individuals making the allegations may be shared with the church. The Credentials Committee will seek to protect the identity of individuals who make a submission, or a church submitted for inquiry status unless and until it determines the church should be declared not in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention.

If a church is deemed not in friendly cooperation, the Credentials Committee will notify the SBC Executive Committee in accordance with its assignment in SBC Bylaw 8. After this assessment is made the following steps would ensue. The Executive Committee, upon the next scheduled meeting, will consider the recommendation of the Credentials Committee. The Credentials Committee will issue statements concerning a church’s relationship with the Convention as follows: a recommendation to ask the Executive Committee to declare a church not in friendly cooperation with the SBC, which will be incorporated into the Executive Committee agenda which is distributed to Executive Committee members, Baptist media, and other elected Southern Baptist leaders prior to each of its scheduled meetings.

For a more complete Statement of Relationship of the Southern Baptist Convention to its cooperating Baptist churches, click here.

Submissions requesting the Credentials Committee to inquire whether a church should be considered in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention may be made electronically by completing the form on the following page or by printing the form and mailing to SBC Credentials Committee, 901 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37203. The Committee may also be contacted at credentials@sbc.net.

Please select one:

  • If you wish to report an issue concerning a church’s relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention that addresses discriminatory behavior on the basis of ethnicity, click here.
  • If you wish to report an issue concerning a church’s relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention that addresses sexual or other forms of abuse in a church setting, click here.
  • If you wish to report an issue concerning a church’s relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention that addresses any other matter of faith or practice, click here.
  • If you would prefer to download and print this form and either email or mail it to the SBC Credentials Committee, click here.