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On Sexual Abuse Of Children

WHEREAS, The Bible is clear in its affirmation that children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3–5); and

WHEREAS, The Lord Jesus demonstrated His love for children by encouraging them to follow Him, correcting those who hindered them, and condemning those who harmed them (Matthew 18:3–6; Mark 10:13–14); and

WHEREAS, The sexual abuse of children remains an ever-increasing criminal offense with more than 1.8 million reported victims of sexual abuse by more than 750,000 child abuse perpetrators identified in the United States alone; and

WHEREAS, Tragically, instances of sexual abuse have been perpetrated within Southern Baptist congregations, churches of other denominations, and other Christian ministries; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, call upon Southern Baptists to stand with our Lord Jesus in loving and protecting children as He does; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we remind all Southern Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report any accusations of child abuse to authorities in addition to implementing any appropriate church discipline or internal restoration processes; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we likewise call upon all Southern Baptists to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in exposing and bringing to justice all perpetrators, sexual or otherwise, who criminally harm children placed in our trust; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we strongly urge Southern Baptist churches to utilize background checks like those provided through LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com/backgroundchecks), databases of sexual predators such as the US Department of Justice sex offender database linked at SBC.net (www.SBC.net/localchurches/ministryhelp.asp), or other relevant resources in screening all potential staff and volunteer workers, particularly those who minister to children and youth; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors and church leaders to develop and implement sound policies and procedures to protect our children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge all Southern Baptists to pray for children who are victims of abuse, to stand for their protection from abuse, and to support safe and healthy children’s ministries in our churches and communities.