SBC head rejects declare ex-president Johnny Hunt has been restored to ministry after abuse allegation
(CP) Southern Baptist Conference President Bart Barber has rejected the declare of 4 pastors that disgraced former church chief Johnny Hunt has been restored to ministry after being suspended earlier this yr over a reputable allegation of sexual misconduct.
In a video posted final week, pastors Mark Hoover of NewSpring Church in Wichita, Kansas; Mike Whitson of First Baptist Church in Indian Path, North Carolina; Steven Kyle of Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama Metropolis, Florida; and Benny Tate of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia, declare that Hunt is eligible to return to skilled ministry following the completion of a restoration program.
Hunt served as pastor emeritus at First Baptist Church Woodstock, Georgia, and was a vice chairman of the SBC’s North American Mission Board. From 2008 to 2010, Hunt served as president of the most important Protestant denomination in the USA.
He was suspended by the church in June after allegations he sexually assaulted a youthful pastor’s spouse in 2010 had been deemed credible by an investigation. He’s now a member of Kyle’s Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama Metropolis.
In a blog entry posted Wednesday morning, Barber, elected SBC president this June, disputed the declare that Hunt can return to ministry and stated the 4 pastors “don’t converse for the Southern Baptist Conference.”
“Certainly, it isn’t clear that they even converse for their very own church buildings,” wrote Barber. “For these Southern Baptist church buildings who apply ordination to ministry, the authority to ordain is mostly thought of to come up from the congregation, however no indication has been provided that any of those 4 congregations have consented to or given their authority to this course of.”
Barber famous that First Baptist Church Woodstock “had nothing to do with” the restoration program that allegedly restored Hunt to ministry.
“The concept that a council of pastors, assembled with the consent of the abusive pastor, possesses some authority to declare a pastor match for resumed ministry is a conceit that’s altogether absent from Baptist polity and from the witness of the New Testomony,” Barber continued.
“It’s best for folks simply to treat this pronouncement as the person opinions of 4 of Johnny Hunt’s loyal associates. These 4 pastors don’t converse for the Southern Baptist Conference.”
Final yr, SBC messengers adopted a resolution encouraging church buildings to completely disqualify anybody who commits sexual abuse from the workplace of pastor. Barber contributed to the content material of the decision.
“That is the sentiment of the Southern Baptist Conference,” Barber, who made vital contributions to the decision, acknowledged in his put up.
Hunt was formally suspended in June, with Woodstock Pastor Jeremy Morton and different church leaders saying the choice in a letter to the congregation.
“Now we have really useful to our former pastor, Johnny Hunt, a transparent means of counseling, accountability, and restoration,” they acknowledged. “We additionally imagine it’s in the most effective curiosity of FBCW to droop his function as Pastor Emeritus.”
“Whereas we’re ceaselessly grateful for the supernatural work of God over the past 30+ years at FBCW, we imagine this resolution aligns with our biblical theology as a church concerning religious leaders being above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2).”
The Christian Put up previously reported that the encounter occurred at a condominium in Panama Metropolis Seashore. It was first revealed in a May 22 report compiled by the investigation agency Guidepost Options. The report was launched as a part of an impartial investigation into allegations SBC leaders intimidated whistleblowers and exonerated church buildings with credible claims of negligence in dealing with claims of sexual abuse.
In line with the report, an unidentified sufferer, who’s the spouse of a fellow SBC pastor mentored by Hunt, claims Hunt sexually assaulted her along with his arms and mouth in opposition to her needs whereas he stayed in an adjoining condominium. Hunt, who was on a sabbatical on the time, is alleged to have informed the girl he needed to have intercourse along with her 3 times a day and in addition accused of pulling her pants down and pulling up her shirt.
Whereas Hunt initially denied the allegations, he later claimed the incident was consensual.
Earlier than the suspension, Hunt posted a statement to social media admitting that he had a “transient, however improper, encounter” with the girl however denied assaulting her.
“I thank God we didn’t go additional than we did, however that can be no excuse for my grievous sin. I’ll remorse that day for the remainder of my life and I take accountability for the scenario as a result of I selected to enter her rental,” he stated.
“I’m sorry. It was an terrible sin but it surely was a consensual encounter. It was not abuse nor was it assault. Virtually instantly after the incident in 2010, I started a means of taking private accountability for my private sin.”
Along with the church suspension, Hunt’s employment with NAMB additionally ended after the Guidepost report’s launch.
Of their video, the 4 pastors stated they labored with the Hunts on an “intentional and an intense season of transparency, reflection and restoration,” claiming to have seen his “real brokenness and humility earlier than God.”
The pastors additionally claimed that Hunt accomplished an identical counseling course of in 2010 after the incident.
In his weblog put up, Barber stated that he would “completely ‘defrock'” Hunt if he had the authority to take action.
“In a fellowship of autonomous church buildings, I would not have the authority to take action,” he wrote. “But it have to be stated that neither do these 4 pastors have the authority to declare Johnny Hunt to be restored.”