Note: The above diagrams are admittedly simplified, obscuring two things.
First, for most participating churches, their financial contributions do not go directly to the “Cooperative Program” or its entities. Rather, their financial contributions are made to their respective state convention, which then collects some of those funds for its purposes and then passes on the rest to the “Cooperative Program.” It’s not required to give this way. A church can give directly to the “Cooperative Program,” or select “Cooperative Program” entities, by sending their money straight to the Executive Committee and bypassing any state convention.
Secondly, although LifeWay and Guidestone are entities that serve participating churches, they do not actually receive financial support from the “Cooperative Program.” I nonetheless included them here though to make you aware of their existence within the “SBC ecosystem.”
I’ve heard things about abuse in the SBC. What was that all about?
Participating churches grew in concern over how abuse was being handled within the association. More and more victims continued to speak up. And suspicions eventually emerged regarding how the Executive Committee (EC) in particular handled (or better, failed to handle) reports of abuse they had received.
So at the 2021 annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in June 2021, the church delegates voted to hire an independent entity to conduct a thorough (and very costly) investigation into the Executive Committee’s handling of abuse claims.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’” – Romans 11:33-34
Think back over this past month, or even this past week: How many times do you reckon you said the words, “I’m sorry”–and not even for those things you did intentionally; but just for mistakes you made, despite your best intentions. Maybe things you intended to do but forgot; things you attempted but failed; or even just “accidents” (misfortune) that foiled your plans. When we look back, we see that we leave behind a wake of mistakes in every area of our lives, everything we touch.
God is sovereign (in control) of our suffering and the evils of this world. This casts a deep hue of divine meaning and purpose over our experience of suffering. … But it does not necessarily diminish the actual experience of suffering itself, nor do theological explanations of suffering necessarily decrease the pain.
This is an important (precious) distinction for anyone who has gone through a severe experience of pain, suffering, abuse, or sorrow. Do not conflate “God works all things (even evil and suffering) together FOR good” (Rom 8:28 — a promise that believers can take to the bank) into “Everything that is being worked out by God IS itself good” (not the case; not in the Bible).
In your good intentions, do not validate someone’s abuse; neither diminish their pain. Own evil as evil. No need not to. We have a God who is sovereign enough for that.