Boz Tchividjian, grandson of the late preacher Billy Graham, is an advocate for justice for abuse victims in churches. Tchividjian, who founded a group called Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), currently teaches at the law school for Liberty University. So he’s both steeped in conservative Christianity while working with more progressive Christians demanding change in their churches.
At the recent Caring Well conference, organized by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, he shamed his own hosts for their refusal to acknowledge abuses perpetrated by Southern Baptist pastors… until they were publicly called out on it by secular news sources.
“Look through their lens: ‘I was sexually abused at a Southern Baptist church and now the Southern Baptist church is hosting a conference. Why? Because a newspaper down the road had a big expose on it.’ That’s what they’re hearing, and that’s what they see, and I don’t blame them,” he said.
“Guys, your system’s broken,” Tchividjian said. “The system of this denomination is broken, and I’m not going to make many friends by saying that, but it is.”
“The good-old-boy system that all too often places a greater value on public and private relationships, book sales and conference invitations than confronting evil and advocating for the abused, that’s got to be done with,” he said.
He also pointed out that the SBC, which took a hands-off approach to the matter saying they had no power to discipline predatory pastors, would likely “find such authority if an SBC church ordained a woman or a gay man.”
Looks like common decency skipped a generation (*cough*Franklin Graham*cough*) and came back with this one.
Tchividjian also challenged the convention’s toxic focus on gender roles, both at home and in church. He wasn’t the only critic either. To their credit, the ERLC had several speakers who condemned the Southern Baptist Convention’s lackluster response to abuse. For a group of people who usually love hearing confident men preach on stage, you hope some of those attendees took his words to heart.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine Southern Baptists finding any more room at the bottom of the barrel. There’s only one direction to go.
(Screenshot via YouTube)